Texas Homecoming Mums – A Wildly Expensive Tradition

What are Texas homecoming mums and how did they become such a tradition in the Lone Star State over the years?

By Rick Gonzales | Published

texas homecoming mums

Come again? Texas homecoming mums? What the what? Now, before we can start asking more questions, let’s get to some answers. The first one is that Texas homecoming mums have the word “Texas” in them, and we all know that everything is bigger in Texas. Trust us when we say that sentiment is never more evident with Texas homecoming mums. So, tighten up your chaps, make sure your spurs are shiny, a grab that ten-gallon hat because we are going on a ride to figure out just what Texas homecoming mums are all about.


There are a number of college campuses that claim they are the originator of homecoming, an event that celebrated the first home football game of the season and brought back many alumni to their alma maters. The earliest homecomings date back to the turn of the century though there is plenty of debate as to which college got the tradition started. The University of Missouri is one college that claims it was the originator. It is said (and verified by both Jeopardy! and Trivial Pursuit so you know it’s official) that in 1911, Mizzou’s then Director of Athletics, Chester L. Brewer, had the keen idea to invite back the school’s alumni to their annual battle against the University of Kansas. But Brewer didn’t stop there. Along with the returning alumni, he also decided to include a spirit rally and a parade. Homecoming.

Of course, Baylor University also claims to have been the inventor of the Homecoming game saying they preceded Mizzou’s by two years. Even the University of Illinois claims to have had its first homecoming game in 1910. Be that as it may and regardless of who had the first homecoming game, the years that followed were not only good fun for colleges and eventually high schools across the nation, but they were also very good for flower shops as well.


texas homecoming mums

So, we know Texas and we now know the origin (for the most part) of homecoming. But what about the “mums” in Texas Homecoming Mums? Well, believe it or not, we aren’t talking about the British version of “mom” here. No, in this case, we are talking about the flower, chrysanthemums.

The chrysanthemum dates way back to the 15th century B.C. China and today are known as an autumn flower that is celebrated in many colors like purple, yellow, lavender-pink, bronze, red, orange, and white. Each mum bloom has little flowers that are called florets. A mum’s leaves are blue-green in color. The blooms range in size from small pincushion sizes to giant spider sizes.


Now that we know the history of homecoming and just exactly what mums are, just how did they combine their talents and become Texas homecoming mums? It has been said that the very first homecoming mums appeared in Texas in the 1930s. Back in those days, and for many, many years to follow, the Texas Homecoming mums were made with the real thing. A simple chrysanthemum is given by the male high school student to his female companion (aka girlfriend).

The first Texas homecoming mums arrangement was a simple corsage that included a few small flowers and ribbons. As the years progressed, these homecoming mums became more and more elaborate. By the 1970s, the Texas homecoming mum really began to take on a life of their own, with designs growing in size, as you will soon see.


The Texas homecoming mum most definitely is made for the female but worry not, it also has its counterpoint. This, for the male, would be the garter. As it pertains to the Texas homecoming, these garters are much smaller than the mum and they are designed to fit on the arm of the male. As with many traditions of this sort, the mum is designed and ordered by the male while the female designs and then orders the garter.


Simple was the style early on. The Texas homecoming mum would be an easy design, not too frilly, and throughout the 1960s would only cost around $3. But Texas is Texas. It’s either go big or go home and when it came to the Texas homecoming mum, it was “go big”. And when big wasn’t enough, it was then “go bigger.”

By bigger, this meant the actual flower had to go and it then turned into one made out of silk ribbons. Suddenly, what was once a small, tender affair, turned into a massive tender affair. Now, the Texas homecoming mum is grand, typically starting with a large flower centerpiece that is made of ribbons. You will then see charms added, jingle bells, stuffed animals, LED lights (yes!), and because it is Texas, you will even get your share of cow bells included. There is also a good chance that $3 won’t cut it anymore.

Across the Lone Star state, mums are broken up into specific regions with their own styles. For instance, in North Texas, the mum is large and includes school colors. Along the Gulf Coast and Southern Texas, the mum is much more traditional and smaller in size. In the Houston area, the Texas homecoming mum is large and will include both school colors and non-traditional school colors. In the Central and East Texas regions, the mum can be knee-length or shorter and also follow more traditional designs. Finally, in the West Texas region, mums are smaller, waist-length, and trinket heavy.

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You are probably now wondering just what a Texas homecoming mum will set you back. Well, you can go super modest and find them in the $20 range. But on average, a Texas-sized mum will run you anywhere from $200 up to $500. If you are choosing to go all out with your Texas homecoming mum, you can end up paying over $1,000 for one. You can see an amazing homecoming mum designed by the Mum Queen below.

Kisha Clark started Mums Incorporated in 2012. Her organization now has 145 mum-making superstars that work in 80 businesses across the state. Her group of professionals allows all the mum-makers to reach out and talk, share their supplies if needed, and also give their sage advice to any up-and-coming Texas homecoming mum-makers.

Clark knows large when it comes to homecoming mums. She claims the largest she has put together was called the body-sized “megaquad. It has four 7-and-a-half-inch flowers. It’s very long; it goes all the way to the floor,” Clark described to Texas Highways. “On those mums we do four or five braids, looping, and lots of extra little details here and there that I add to each mum.” She also explained that when it comes to Texas homecoming mums, there really is no off-season. She said there is a bit of a reprieve during the Christmas season, but once the new year rolls around, it is right back to it, making sure the inventory gets replenished, the cleaning is complete and prework for the season begins.

The Texas homecoming is truly a Texas tradition. Bigger and more extravagant, that is the only way they do it in Texas. But it is also a tradition that has been catching on in neighboring states, as they are now being seen in Oklahoma and Louisiana.

Think Texas Homecoming mums will catch on in other states outside of the south? It hasn’t happened yet, but that day could be coming.