Are Mums a Texas Thing? Exploring the Homecoming Tradition and Culture

Are Mums a Texas Thing? Exploring the Homecoming Tradition and Culture

When fall rolls around in Texas, one thing stands out almost as much as football and cooler weather—mums. These oversized, elaborately decorated flowers are a staple of high school homecoming traditions across the state. You might wonder if mums are unique to Texas or if this colorful phenomenon has roots elsewhere.

In this article, you’ll discover the history and cultural significance of mums, why they’re such a big deal in Texas, and whether other states share this fascinating tradition. Get ready to dive into a world where creativity and school spirit blend into one unforgettable experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Homecoming Mum Tradition: Mums are a hallmark of Texas high school homecoming traditions, evolving from simple chrysanthemum corsages to elaborate, multi-layered decorations featuring ribbons, plush toys, and LED lights.
  • Cultural Significance: Mums are a symbol of school spirit and community pride in Texas, often reflecting the wearer’s interests and personality while fostering a sense of unity among students, alumni, and local businesses.
  • Regional Variations: Different regions of Texas have unique styles of mums, with North Texas favoring larger and more intricate designs and South Texas preferring smaller, floral-focused versions.
  • Comparison to Other States: Neighboring states like Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Louisiana also participate in the mum tradition, though generally with less elaborate versions. The custom is gradually spreading across the US but remains most prominent in Texas.
  • Modern Influences: Social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok play a significant role in popularizing and evolving the tradition, offering DIY tutorials and inspiring creative designs.
  • DIY Trend: The popularity of DIY mums has grown, allowing for greater personalization and cost savings. Craft stores and online platforms like Etsy provide materials and kits for creating unique, custom mums.

Understanding the Tradition of Mums in Texas

The Historical Context of Homecoming Mums

Homecoming mums date back to the early 20th century. Originating from simple chrysanthemum corsages, mums evolved over the decades. Students initially exchanged these during homecoming games, which started the tradition. By the 1950s, the trend spread across Texas, becoming increasingly elaborate. Mums grew from small corsages to large, ornate decorations worn proudly by high school students. Over time, synthetic materials like ribbons, plush toys, and trinkets replaced fresh flowers, making them more durable and customizable.

The Cultural Significance of Mums in Texas

Mums hold substantial cultural importance in Texas, especially during homecoming season. Their size and complexity have become a status symbol among students, showcasing school spirit and creativity. When adorned with school colors, names, and symbols, mums serve as wearable displays of pride and support for one’s school. They often feature elements like LED lights and personalized charms, reflecting the wearer’s interests and personality. Beyond individual expression, mums also foster community spirit by uniting students, alumni, and local businesses in a shared celebration of school traditions.

How Mums Became Synonymous with Texas High School Culture

How Mums Became Synonymous with Texas High School Culture

The Evolution of Mums

The chrysanthemum corsages of the early 20th century have transformed into extravagant, multi-layered creations in Texas high schools. Initially modest, mums began as simple flowers exchanged during homecoming games. Over decades, they gained more embellishments, starting with ribbons and moving to include plush toys, trinkets, and LED lights. The complexity increased as students sought more elaborate and personalized designs, symbolizing school pride and creativity.

Region-Specific Variations

While mums have become iconic in Texas high school culture, variations exist across different regions. In North Texas, for instance, mums tend to be larger and more elaborate, featuring multiple blooms and extensive ribbons. In contrast, schools in South Texas favor smaller, more traditional mums, focusing on floral appeal over excessive adornments. These regional differences highlight the diverse expressions of school spirit and community identity, making each mum unique to its locale.

Comparing Texas Mums to Other States

Comparing Texas Mums to Other States

Mums in Neighboring States

In neighboring states like Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Louisiana, the tradition of mums exists, but it’s generally less extravagant. Oklahoma students participate in homecoming with mums similar to Texas, though typically smaller and less adorned. New Mexico and Louisiana include mums in their homecoming festivities, yet they rarely exhibit the same level of personalization or size. Schools in these states often prefer more modest versions, highlighting school colors and basic charms without the LED lights and plush toys seen in Texas.

The Spread of Mums Across the US

While Texas remains the epicenter for elaborate mums, the tradition is gradually spreading to other parts of the United States. High schools in states such as Arkansas, Missouri, and even some in the Midwest and Southeast have adopted the mum tradition, yet on a smaller scale. These regions often mirror the simpler designs seen in Texas pre-1980s, focusing on chrysanthemum corsages that incorporate ribbons and a few trinkets. Larger, more ornate mums, characteristic of Texas culture, are less common but are gradually gaining popularity due to increasing social media visibility. Growing interest in these states indicates a slowly expanding appreciation for this unique tradition.

Modern Day Celebrations and Innovations

The Role of Social Media

Social media amplifies the cultural significance of mums in Texas. Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest showcase elaborate mums, inspiring others to create their own. You can see posts with hashtags like #HomecomingMums, connecting students and enthusiasts. TikTok features DIY mum tutorials, making it easier to access creative ideas. Social media also helps local businesses and crafters reach a broader audience, boosting sales and promoting unique designs.

DIY Mums and Their Popularity

DIY mums have surged in popularity due to their personalization options. Craft stores in Texas stock various materials, allowing you to create unique mums. Your mum can reflect personal tastes, school colors, and individual themes. Websites like Etsy offer custom supplies kits, making it easier to get started. DIY mums often save money compared to pre-made options, appealing to budget-conscious individuals. This approach also adds a personal touch, as you can incorporate elements meaningful to you or your school.


Mums have undoubtedly become a deeply rooted tradition in Texas, symbolizing school spirit and creativity. While their popularity has spread to neighboring states and beyond, Texas remains the epicenter of this vibrant cultural phenomenon. Social media platforms continue to enhance the visibility and evolution of mums, connecting enthusiasts and fostering innovation. Whether you opt for a DIY approach or purchase a custom creation, the tradition of mums offers a unique way to celebrate homecoming and showcase individuality. As the tradition grows, so does the opportunity for new generations to put their own spin on this beloved custom.

Mums, elaborately decorated with ribbons, charms, and trinkets, are a quintessential part of Texas high school homecoming celebrations. This tradition, deeply rooted in Texas culture, involves students exchanging these decorative flowers as a symbol of school spirit and pride, as highlighted by Texas Monthly. The unique customization of mums has turned this practice into a cherished and creative tradition among Texan students, according to The New York Times.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a homecoming mum?

A homecoming mum is a decorative corsage traditionally worn by high school students in Texas during the homecoming season. It often features elaborate designs incorporating school colors, symbols, and ribbons.

How did the tradition of mums start?

The tradition began with simple chrysanthemum corsages given to dates during homecoming events. Over time, they evolved into more elaborate and personalized designs, symbolizing school spirit and creativity.

What are the regional variations in mum designs within Texas?

In North Texas, mums tend to be more elaborate and larger in size. In contrast, South Texas schools prefer smaller, more traditional mums.

Have other states adopted the mums tradition?

Yes, neighboring states like Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Louisiana have adopted the tradition, although their designs are usually simpler and less personalized than those in Texas. States like Arkansas and Missouri have also started adopting the tradition on a smaller scale.

How has social media influenced the tradition of mums?

Social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest amplify the cultural significance of mums by connecting students and enthusiasts through hashtags like #HomecomingMums. TikTok features DIY mum tutorials, making creative ideas more accessible.

What are DIY mums, and why are they popular?

DIY mums are homemade versions of traditional mums. They are popular because they offer personalization options, are cost-effective, and allow individuals to incorporate unique and meaningful elements into their designs.

Where can materials for DIY mums be purchased?

Materials for DIY mums can be found in craft stores throughout Texas. Additionally, websites like Etsy offer custom supply kits to create unique, personalized mums.