KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
September 10, 2022
By Natalie Cook Clark
Katy’s Morton Ranch High School kicks off Homecoming season in Katy. It’s a time of tradition, remembrance, and perhaps the most memorable symbol is the large Texas-sized mums. It may be strange to newcomers, but the ribbons and bells have become as symbolic of the homecoming festivities as football.
Morton Ranch High School students pose with HUGE mums at school yesterday as they celebrated the first homecoming of the Katy ISD season. Photo credit: Katy ISD- Morton Ranch High School.
Welcome to Homecoming Season
Welcome to Homecoming Season Katy! This is a time of tradition and celebration amongst the nine Katy ISD high schools; the students, staff, and alumni. Perhaps one of the most recognizable symbols of the festivities are the mums and garters. These large collections of ribbons and trinkets can often times be a shock to Katy newcomers.
A Walking Scrapbook
“It’s like a walking scrapbook of their high school years,” explains Cecilia Cormier, owner of Katy House of Flower.
Cormier has been making mums for over 20 years and says that the tradition only keeps getting bigger in importance and size.
“It’s the girls,” says Cormier, in regards to why the mums keep getting bigger. “It’s a competition really. The girls like to show off what they do.”
Girls wear mums and boys wear garters (though this has seen some changes lately) to school the Friday of their school’s Homecoming and then also to the football game that night. The tradition dates back to the very first homecoming held at Katy High School when a mum was a simple flower to now when mums and garters are made of silk flowers and have evolved into a spectacle of trinkets and bling.
“I absolutely love all the glitter and the sounds of the jingles and the rustling of all the ribbon, but I mostly love to help kids have something beautiful on their homecoming day,” says Sterling Greene, who made her first mum for her daughter 3 years ago. Greene now has a mum and garter making business, Sterling’s Homecoming Mums & Garters.
This year the biggest mum Greene made was a quad, meaning that it had four silk mums on the base. She also made a similar size mum for her daughter.
“The mums have gotten HUGE! I graduated from Katy HS in 2001 and homecoming was big, but I never remember seeing Mums as big as they are now,” says Greene. “Oh, and all the graphics you can make on the computer that you couldn’t make back in the early 2000’s.”
Cormier has made a mum where it had 22 mums going over the girl’s shoulder. The most unique mum she made though was for her daughter.
“Each one is unique,” explains Cormier. “My favorite was my daughter’s mum. Her date asked her to homecoming with an icee drink and I found a candy icee so i put that with two tigers in middle of mum.”
While many Katy residents offer their creative crafting skills to this tradition, most high school bands have mum and garter shops at the school as a fundraiser.
Meredith Lanning is over the Tompkins High School Band Mum Shop and enjoys meeting with the students and helping them design a mum or garter that truly represents them.
“I want to make a lot of teenagers happy,” says Lanning. ““You have to talk to the kids to find out what they want.”
Lanning says that this year she’s seen a new trend where some of the girls (especially in band) are opting for garters instead of mums.
“Some girls have opted for garters because they don’t want the heavy ribbons,” says Lanning. “It’s easier to wear and play an instrument in band at the game.”
With so many high schools in Katy ISD it is getting harder to schedule homecoming dates. Homecoming is always in the fall and with the date being pushed closer to the start of the school year it can be hard for students to secure dates in time to order their mum and garters.
According to Lanning, about 50% of their orders this year were placed with only one name listed to be put on the mum on garter. Students can then opt to wear the traditional attire with or without having a date.
“It is acceptable for parents to order a mum or garter for a student without a date,” says Lanning. “If a student then gets a date, adding a name isn’t too complicated.”
Mum, Garter Rules to Know
While mums and garter designs continue to get bigger and more intricate, there are certain rules that remain.
Freshman and Sophomores are decorated with school colors
Juniors are decorated in silver and white
Seniors are decorated in gold and white, though some senior ladies have opted for rose gold as a trend lately
Colors can be mixed to indicate the grade level of a date
School colors are mixed when dates attend other schools
Girls may wear two mums if one represents a performance group like drill team
As the mums get bigger, students have had to work to accommodate the weight. In recent years, decorated overalls have become nearly as spirited as the mums. Girls use overall straps to help hold up the weight of their over-sized mums. To accommodate the size and weight some mums now are worn over the neck like a necklace rather than pinned.
Mums by Sterling Greene.
“I love helping non-Texas natives,” says Greene. “They always say ‘I don’t know anything about this homecoming thing.’ ‘Please Help,’ ‘I have so many questions.’ I think they mostly wonder ‘why?’”
Over the years, the jingles and in some cases music box sounds from mums and garters have become just as traditional as school cheers at football games.