So you're son or daughter comes home and says they need a homecoming mum or homecoming garter and you think "A WHAT??!!"
Well hopefully I can help eleviate some of the confusion with this process and make it a little easier and FUN!
First, if you have never heard of these - you might want to read Homecoming Mums - the tradition for a little info. If you have a general idea of what these are then let's get going.
You need a Homecoming Mum or Garter:
This would be either from you (the parent) to your daughter/son or for your son/daughter to give to his/her date. Or you are buying one for yourself! Well here are a few tips:
Freshman Homecoming Mum: If you are buying/making a homecoming mum for a Freshman, you need a Single Mum (meaning only 1 flower). The flower can be any size you would like as long as it is only 1 flower. For example I make a Basic Single Homecoming Mum, a Deluxe Single Homecoming Mum and a Super Single Deluxe Homecoming Mum. Any of these would be acceptable for a Freshman. My most popular mum I sell for a Freshman is a Deluxe Single Homecoming Mum. The mum needs to be in the school colors with a coordinating metallic color (silver or gold). A little bit of an accent color is ok too (like zebra, cheetah, hot pink, etc.)
Sophomore Homecoming Mum: If you are buying/making a homecoming mum for a Sophomore, you will need a Double Mum (meaning 2 flowers). It is acceptable to have a Single Homecoming Mum instead (whichever you prefer) - the double is just tradition. These are examples of a Basic Double Homecoming Mum and a Deluxe Double Homecoming Mum. The mum should be made in the school colors with a coordinating metallic color (silver or gold). If you want a little bit of accent color added, that's ok too (such as zebra, cheetah, hot pink, etc). Once again the Deluxe Double Homecoming Mum is the most popular of the double mums I sell.
Junior Homecoming Mum: If you are buying/making a homecoming mum for a Junior then tradition is a Triple Homecoming Mum (meaning 3 flowers). I have 3 types of triples, Basic Triple Homecoming Mum, Deluxe Triple Homecoming Mum & MEGA Triple Homecoming Mum. Another size some Juniors will go with is my Deluxe Super Single Homecoming Mum or MEGA Super Single Homecoming Mum. With Juniors, you can do any size you want other than a quad.
Senior Homecoming Mum: If you are buying/making a homecoming mum for a Senior, then you can pretty much order whatever you want. Tradition would be a Quad Homecoming Mum which is 4 flowers, however, my Mega Triple Homecoming Mums are the most popular for seniors (and are actually almost the same size as a quad!). Mega Super Size Single Homecoming Mums are a great option as well. Here are some examples of my Mega Quad Mums and Mega Triple Mums. Another fun way is to have a Triple Mum with a Single mum that goes over the Shoulder. There are also Quints (yep 5 flowers) and beyond which these typically would be ordered only by a Senior. For us the most popular ones we sell for seniors are a Deluxe Triple Homecoming Mum, MEGA Triple Homecoming Mum or a MEGA Quad Homecoming Mum with the Deluxe Super Single Homecoming Mums and MEGA Super Single Homecoming Mums coming in a close second. Seniors will have all white with either silver or gold (depending on school's colors) and lately most seniors add an accent color or favorite color to it as well (like hot pink, turquoise or zebra, etc). Think of the Senior Mum as being your biggest and best mum you have out of all your high school years.
Homecoming Garters ALL CLASSES: Homecoming garters are a little different. The same theory applies (a freshman wouldn't have a double or triple garter) but most guys will opt for a single garter all the way through high school. Our experience has been Freshmen and Sophomores getting a Basic Single Homecoming Garter or a Deluxe Single Homecoming Garter with the Deluxe being the most popular. Juniors usually opt for a MEGA Single Homecoming Garter since it is a little bigger and signifies the upper classman status. Most Seniors will do a MEGA Single Homecoming Garter, however in the past few years the MEGA Double Homecoming Garter and MEGA Triple Homecoming Garter have gained popularity. Last year we even made a MEGA Quad Homecoming Garter for a Senior in Houston! The colors work the same way with Freshmen, Sophomores and Juniors keeping strictly to the school colors (little bit of accent color allowed) with seniors being either the silver and white or gold and white.
So, now you know what size you want to get - but what do you want on it?? How much is enough stuff??? Contrary to popular believe, no one is going to become a social pariah if they don't have the biggest and best mum out there. You do of course want something nice and this is where personal preference and budget will come into play. First decide what you can spend and then decide what size and items are most important to you. For budget if you are making your own mum or garter you should check our our Make Your Own Homecoming Mum Kits that come with tons of items and EVERYTHING you need to make something amazing but at a significant savings compared to the craft stores!
If you are buying a mum:
- FINDING A MUM MAKER: Try to find a place that doesn't nickel and dime you for every trinket, garland, etc. Most mum makers that I personally know (myself included), have a set price that includes many many items and custom design with maybe some add larger options. You tend to make out better this way because when they are making your mum they aren't using "only the trinkets/items you paid for" etc, instead it's all about the overall look and finished product. If you google homecoming mums and the name of your school it will usually pull up local mum makers. If there aren't any in your area, some do offer shipping. MelzMumz.com offers shipping as well.
- PUT THE NAMES ON THERE. If it is a guy giving it to a girl, etc - put both of their names on it. Personally I think it is neat to also put their nickname if they have one.
- RIBBON COLORS. Be sure to order the mum in the school colors EXCEPT SENIORS! Seniors get white and silver or white and gold depending on the school. Many seniors are opting for an accent color added as well (hot pink, turquoise, lime, purple, zebra, cheetah, etc). It is ok to add a little bit of an accent color to Freshman, Sophomore, Junior mums as well. Zebra and Cheetah are both extremely popular.
- GET A BOA. Just do it. The boas add so much for so little - they are fun and fluffy and well lets just face it - who doesn't love a boa???
- BELLS ARE A MUST! - you want it to jingle and make lots of noise!
- TRINKETS AND SUCH - and if you know a bit about the person wearing the mum - most mum makers will customize it to suit the person's individuality such as adding whatever sport they play or clubs they participate in. This is where it can get creative. You don't have to stick to just trinkets, you can add ornaments and just about anything you can think of. Last year I had a MEGA Triple Mum done in a fifties "Grease" theme with cheetah, hot pink & black. I hung fuzzy dice from the mum and had half of a vinyl album sticking out of the top!
- SPECIALTY RIBBONS- such as printed, silk, all sorts of metallics. These really make a big difference in the way a mum looks, especially holographics. They add so much dimension to the mum. At the very least, try to have at least 3 or 4 printed ribbons and a few metallic ribbons like honeycomb ribbon or ice crunch. To see examples of different types of ribbon you can go to my website www.melzmumz.com and click on extras examples - it will show you pics of most everything.
- BRAIDS AND LOOPS - they are just neat - but the best thing about them is they make the mum fuller! I see so many mums out there without any braids, just a bunch of ribbon hanging down and they look so flat! Put a braid on there - you'll be much happier with it.
- LOOK AROUND - find pictures of mums you like. Try not to get overwhelmed. Most mum makers will work with you if you say "I like this but don't like these, etc" to come up with the perfect design. And don't worry if you have no idea what you want - most professional mum makers know what they are doing and will create something amazing for you - be sure to look at pictures of mums they have made - it will give you a pretty good idea of what they can create!
GET CREATIVE!! There aren't too many things that are really "taboo" with the mum. Have fun with them! I pride myself on making my mums very custom to the person wearing it. For example, one year I made a garter for a guy that loved hunting. I found a deer head that I "mounted" in the middle of the flower and started a new trend! Or a mum for a girl that loved root beer so I made a little root bear bottle with the Barg's label on it for the bear to hold, for a girl who sings I made a microphone for the bear to hold, and for a guy who wanted Batman theme - I made a BatBear! Hello Kitty, Fishing, any sports, activities, you name it!! So have fun with it! They will most likely have these keepsakes forever!
If you are going to make a mum:
Being a mum maker myself, I have to say a few things here about the reality of this and it is not because I am trying to deter anyone from making one - it's only to be honest and real about it. I want you to ENJOY the mum experience! If you are not a crafty person per se - DO NOT ATTEMPT TO MAKE ONE - it isn't worth it! You will end up mad, frustrated and definitely will not enjoy the mum experience. These take many hours to make, so be prepared to devote the time. The quality of the turn out 100% depends on the time and focus you put into it. Also, contrary to popular belief, it usually is not cheaper to make one. Once you go buy all the supplies at the local craft store, many times you will spend more than if you purchased one. I cannot tell you how many times I have been in a store and overheard a mom complaining that this is their 4th trip up to the store for more supplies and that they are now up to $150 - $200 into it.
With that being said, if you are crafty and are wanting to make a mum or garter (which can be alot of fun!!) - you will of course need to get supplies. MelzMumz.com actually offers complete Make Your Own Homecoming Mum kits with EVERYTHING you need to make an amazing mum or garter PLUS INSTRUCTIONS! These are not rinky dink kits with bare bones basics - they are packed full of stuff!! Also our kits will save you lots of $$$ compared to the craft store prices! See our price comparison here. We also have for FREE printable step by step picture instructions with over 30 photos each for Single Homecoming Mums, Double Homecoming Mums, Triple Homecoming Mums and Homecoming Garters! Click here and scroll to very bottom of page and you will see printable instructions. Or if you want to shop you will need to go to a local craft store and buy the flowers, tons of ribbon (solid satin acetate) printed ribbon, metallic ribbons, garland, trinkets, backers, stuffed animal, bells, braids, glue, staples and any other accessories you would like. It is best to go with a list so you know what to buy. I have put together a Download Shopping List that lists all the necessary items to check off as you get them plus with a notes section to add anything special you are looking for. This will help you get the necessary items to make a mum or garter and not forget anything. Having all basics covered makes it easier to shop in the madness of the store (if you have shopped during homecoming season in the local craft stores - you know what I'm talking about!). Also be prepared the stores usually run out of some of the supplies (usually flowers, bears or backers) so try to shop early if you can!
I have many tutorials here on my blog that can help walk you through the process of creating one and making braids. And if you seem to get stumped along the way - message me! I try to answer posts right away. During mum season it can get a little hairy for me so sometimes it might take me a day or two but usually I try to answer right away!
Hope this helps provide some insight and guidance. Good luck and enjoy your new Homecoming Mum experience!