Starling Travel

October 11, 2006

San Antonio, Texas: High School Homecoming Mums

Filed under: Places To Visit,Texas,Video — Laura Moncur @ 4:30 pm

During our trip to San Antonio, Mike and I took a break and went to Michaels Arts and Crafts. We went there to look at arts supplies and just relax. We have Michaels in Salt Lake City, so we thought it would be a familiar reminder of home. Instead, it was a very different store. There were two full aisles of ribbons in bright, primary colors. It was so interesting, I took photos. Michaels announced to the residents of Texas that they were your Homecoming Headquarters, but I had never seen anything like this for Homecoming. What was all this stuff?

While I looked at all the ribbons, flowers and megaphones, I became more and more confused. I asked one guy who worked at service desk what it was all about, but he was unable to explain it to me. I returned to the ribbons. A kindly woman said to me, “Ah, it’s Homecoming Time. They’ve got to get their mums ready.” I pounced on her like a housecat left alone too often. With some coaxing, Joan Anderson was willing to explain it all to me.

Click here to see the video

Texas sure does love their high school football. Using the artificial mums, ribbons and other decorations, you can create a Homecoming Mum. They are for girls and they wear them to the Homecoming game. It’s not for the dance, just the game (you get real flowers for the dance). This is only for football. Basketball doesn’t get this kind of attention.

I don’t know if this is still the case, but Joan says that the boys’ mothers would make the mums so the boys could give them to the girls they like best. A girl could have many different mums from many boys. The girl with the most mums is the most popular.

“Look there. There’s one over here that has three mums on it. This girl would have to be very special, wouldn’t she?”

Part of me wants to get a whole pile of mums from every boy in town. I want to be the girl with the most mums. I want to be very special. This Texan practice feels very guttural to me. I can feel it in my bones and gut. We had nothing like this in Salt Lake City, Utah. Who knew I would find something so unique and foreign a mere 1800 miles away.

For more information:


  1. Found your blog by searching Texas mums. Great little piece about Homecoming Mums. I went to school in Texas as a little girl and we had this tradition in Del Rio along the border where I grew up. Ours were real mums. We would dangle cow bells and jingle bells from the ribbons. I got my first mum from my mom in 4th grade for our elementary homecoming. Back then we didn’t know we were supposed to get them from boys. My 5th grade year, I got a Del Rio High School mum from a family friend (a high school boy!) because all of the little drill teams from the 5 elementary schools were to perform at the High School’s Homecoming game (yes, read pee wee Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders!) We all thought that we were big stuff back then. I strutted my stuff and told everyone that I got a mum from a high school football player…who wasn’t my brother!

    Thank you for the memories. We live on Oahu and I think that this year I will make one for my daughter’s birthday! Maybe I can start a new tradition here…


    Comment by Maggie — September 17, 2007 @ 11:07 pm

  2. I’m 58 & have gotten a homecoming mum every year since the 7th grade, i have 3 sons & a daughter, made mums for the boys girlfriends & my daughter until she was old enough to get them from boys…now I’m a grandmother & this is my 4th year to make them for my g.son & his 2 best friends who have adopted me as their Na Na, I have 2 more yrs making theirs for high school then we start college, & the other 4 will be ready to step up & start getting theirs!!! mums are a great part of being Texan!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by Rebekah — October 10, 2007 @ 9:03 pm

  3. Good article… I was searching this to see if mums are a tradition all over the u.s., and I guess I got my answer. However, I wanted to add a few things: mums are only for girls, but guys get garters that girls make (or the girl’s mom). A garter is just like a mum but smaller, and instead of being hung around the neck it is attached to a garter which is worn around the arm. Also, the exchange of garters and mums isn’t nearly the same as the story you were told. Your date to the homecoming dance makes your garter or mum for you, and everyone in your homecoming group gets together and exchanges the mums/garters with their dates the day before the football game. People only wear one mum or garter; they’re so big and bulky I couldn’t imagine wearing more than one! Also, they get bigger the older you are: freshman only have one flower (or one bunch of flowers), which sophomores have two, juniors have three, and seniors have three but in gold or silver and white instead of your school colors.

    Comment by curios texan — October 30, 2007 @ 11:32 am

  4. I sure was glad to find your site to read all about homecoming mums. I am from Colorado, but have lived all over the west. Never heard of mums (except for the real flower, with no embellishments) until I arrived in Grand Prairie, Texas. Unfortunately, even my nearby florist couldn’t tell me much. Don’t know if that was because she really didn’t know, or if she thought it was so obvious that my question couldn’t be real! Anyhow, it’s kind of cool, but the kids probably should know that it is regional, and the rest of the world (even the rest of the “southwest”) does not know what they are talking about when they bring up home-coming mums! I hope that someone puts in a little extra effort for the kids who’s moms are working too hard to make them, or who can’t possibly afford a pound and a half of ribbons and plastic charms. I work in the inner city (Dallas)and cannot imagine most of my African American and Hispanic kids going in for this. Sounds pretty whitebread to me. Set me straight. Dolly

    Comment by dolly hall — September 2, 2008 @ 3:47 pm

  5. I am from Odessa, Texas. Homecoming mums are for everyone here, ALL RACES!!!!!!!!!!!!

    WE LOVE EM’ as a matter of fact, I am going to Michaels after I pick my daughter up from school to buy everything we need to make one before Friday.

    Comment by Lynn Clarke — September 9, 2008 @ 2:06 pm

  6. I live in San Antonio Texas I am a 41 yr old Hispanic. We had mums back when I was in High School. Now my daughter is in High School and in band. So this is my 1st year making her a mum. Its not a WHITE thing. I am guessing its a Texas thing. The school my daughter goes to is mostly hispanics. Seems like a lot of kids wear mums. So news for Dolly. Blacks and Hispanics can buy mums as well don’t you worry. I am a stay at home mom I do have the time to make my daughters mum. I have been blessed. Now if you ask my husband what is a homecoming mum I bet he has no clue lol.

    Comment by Suzie — September 15, 2008 @ 4:00 pm

  7. I have to confess that I learned something new today. I had no idea that homecoming mums were so regional. That’s us Texans for you, we figure if we do it, then everyone does (or should!). Growing up we used to get our mums from the florist and since I attended such a small high school, a bunch of girlfriends would often get together and we would go as a group to homecoming and get our own mums and NEVER the basic models. And yes, they were real mums so all you were left with was a very expensive dead mess after the occasion. Matter of fact, you could always tell which girls had dates, they would have the mums that were very conservative and plain. This past weekend my sister-in-law and myself took this opportunity to take our minds off hurricane Ike’s aftermath (she Lake Jackson and myself Houston) and crafted mums not only for my 16-year-old nephew’s mystery date, but for my 4 and 8-year-old nieces as well. It was a blast, and to be true to my past, I really went over the top. Nowadays though, that’s the rule and not the exception. It was a great, fun project and I urge anyone who has an upcoming homecoming to try their hand at making their own mum.

    Comment by Donna — September 22, 2008 @ 5:23 am

  8. I live in Georgia now, but I am so glad I went to High School in Texas. The Texas tradition made my childhood great. I am orginally from California and in comparison to the girls in my family that didn’t live in Texas, I had the best High School experience. (Cheerleading, Mums, Pagents, Texas State Fair, Summer Camps, Food, Culture and History) I was able to be a kid and enjoy my youth. I am big on traditions now as an adult. I have two girls (10 &1)(African American) and I will try to make sure they get their mums every year. It’s what being young is all about. And I am so suprised by the lady who thought it was not a black thing. Who was she around as a child? Even worse as an adult, how negative could she be. Somebody buy that lady a mum and a better attitude. Happy Homecoming everyone.

    Comment by Margo — October 22, 2008 @ 9:11 am

  9. I could have sworn growing up in Central Wisconsin we had mums (real flowers with just ribbons) for homecoming along with a Big parade with Big floats but maybe it is just a Texas thing.

    Comment by Clare — September 13, 2009 @ 5:28 pm

  10. ok. I’m from La, and I live in Texas now. I didn’t remember mums,and was really confused when my daughter started high school and these mums came out of no where. Every one talked about it like I should know what they were for. I was beginning to think I missed something in High school. Now, I know its a Texas thing.

    Comment by CG — October 4, 2009 @ 10:53 am

  11. Good write up. It is for sure not a race thing in Texas with the Mums. It is like a rite of passage for girls to wear their first Mum. I am not from Texas but my girls were born here and they get so excited at this time of year. Just got back from Michael’s with the supplies to make my Juniors Mum. Can’t wait for the humongus white and silver senior mum for next year. She is already planning it and will talk about it until next year lol….with all the traditions that have fallen by the wayside because of the dangers of society, at least they still can have this.

    Comment by angela — September 3, 2010 @ 4:02 pm

  12. I’m from New Mexico living in Colorado and was looking for football mums. We had these when I was in high school, the real live mums from the local florist. The girl with the most trinkets and ribbons was the most popular also meant that the person who bought it spent a lot of money too. I have teenagers now in a brand new high school and have been searching for football mums hoping that I could find a way to do myself so I can possibly start a new tradition with the school. Most parents I have talked to – don’t know what a football mum is so they don’t get it!

    Comment by SusanB — September 26, 2010 @ 7:25 am

  13. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I just moved to Texas, and I had no idea what a mum was either. I’m about to have my first homecoming dance in a few weeks and I was freaking out because everyone is talking about these mums and how they all have bells and whistles and whatever, I was so confused. O.o This was really helpful! Thank you. 😀

    Comment by Kay — September 29, 2010 @ 7:39 pm

  14. When I was in high school (mid-70’s, San Antonio) we ordered football mums from the florist, with real live mums! Later, we discovered Travis Wholesale Florist, and went there to buy supplies to make them ourselves. This was before Hobby Lobby and Michael’s were around. The guys got boutonnieres (carnations) to pin on their shirts; nowadays, it’s arm garters. While my high school did football mums for every game, my son’s school only does them for Homecoming. Everyone gets in on the act; it’s not limited to any age, ethnicity, or gender.

    Comment by Mary Ellen Dunlap — September 30, 2010 @ 10:51 am

  15. Well, born in south Texas but moved up to California when I was 15 and guess what it was Homecoming TIME! Here I am LIL’ OL’ Texan me asking where are the mums. You’re right no one outside of Texas has any clue about Homecoming Mums. Sure it’ll hit-em some day! Gosh Darn It – things are getting so expensive. My girls are only 7 and 11 – still have ways to go! See you’ll later….

    Comment by Cassandra — September 30, 2010 @ 11:40 pm

  16. For those who haven’t found out about the spirit jeans – you’ll should give those a try as well.All it is… blue jeans and fabric paint. Even made my daughter a spirit shirt (mascot is a lion) so I cut the shirt to represent the lion ripping the shirt- Have her wear it with contrasting colors and it looks awsome. I’ve even made spirit bags! Anything goes!

    Comment by Cassandra — September 30, 2010 @ 11:46 pm

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