The Texas tradition of homecoming mums

Everything really is bigger in Texas, including Homecoming mums that have set Guinness World records.


A collection of mums from City Editor Rebecca’s family.

Photo by FTWtoday

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Homecoming season is here — and if you’re from Texas, you know it’s more than just ribbons, football, and alumni events. Homecoming mums have been a tradition in Texas since the early 1900s and have since become a statement-making hallmark of high school life in the Lone Star State.

What is a homecoming mum?

For those of you who are new to the area, you might be wondering what we’re talking about. Mums are considered a token of affection — typically given to a girl by her date in honor of homecoming celebrations. Traditionally, students will wear a mum to school on homecoming Friday, the football game, and other alumni events.

The start of a Texas tradition

According to Texas Highways, the first mums were worn at homecoming in Missouri in 1911. The tradition became popular in Texas in the 1930s when Baylor University hosted the first-ever homecoming celebration in the state.

Back in the day, a mum was a simple chrysanthemum with a few ribbons that would be pinned to a girl’s clothing. But nowadays, the gaudier the better.

Real flowers have been replaced with artificial ones so students can have the mum as a keepsake. Accessories include school-colored ribbons, stuffed animals, bells, battery-operated lights, feathers, and different trinkets highlighting the student’s hobbies.

Although not as elaborate as a girl’s mum, boys will receive a garter to wear on their arm with ribbons and other smaller trinkets similar to a mum.

FTW-Arlington ISD Mum

In 2021, Arlington ISD set the Guinness World Record for the largest homecoming mum. | Photo by Arlington ISD

Fact: Everything really is bigger in Texas

In 2022, Arlington ISD set a new Guinness World Record for the largest homecoming mum. The district’s special education department achieved the feat last October while raising awareness for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The team created a pink and white mum with a plywood base, decorated in ribbons, flowers, and a teddy bear. It measured a whopping 22 feet long, beating the previous world record of 6.5 square meters.

Previously, beloved Texas fast-food chain Whataburger held the “World’s Largest Mum” record with its iconic orange and white creation.

Clocking in at 18 feet tall and six feet wide, the massive mum took 120 hours to build and was constructed with 1,250 flower heads, 50 Whataburger drink cups, 100 fry containers, 300 feet of ribbon, 80 bracelets and key chains, and 165 feet of feathered fringe.

A blooming business

Today, Texans can turn to professional mum makers to create their homecoming masterpiece. Depending on size and accessories, mums can range anywhere from $10 to upwards of $600 — yes, really $600.

If you’re looking to get one made, here are a few local shops around Fort Worth.

Share a photo of your mum for a chance to be featured in a future edition of the newsletter.


City Editor Rebecca and City Editor Kate wearing their high school mums.

Photo by FTWtoday

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