Go Big or Go Home: Homecoming Mums

Homecoming Mums. You either love them or hate them, there is no in between! What I did not know is that apparently homecoming mums is not a Southern thing, it’s actually only a TEXAS thing, ya’ll!

high school couple wearing homecoming mumsThe History of Homecoming Mums

The tradition of the homecoming mum goes back to the 1950’s when young men would gift their young ladies a fabulous, fall Chrysanthemum, which we now decorate our front porches in. The gals would pin the mum to their clothes and wear them to the game and/or dances.  It was a simple and sweet tradition.

Apparently, as the decades continued, the 1980’s and 90’s brought with it a go big or go home kind attitude in most of our attire, especially that of our hair, and the mums were no exception.

The simple white mum was now big and bold, with school colored ribbons, bells, footballs, pom-poms and all kinds of other school spirit paraphernalia. As we moved into the 2000’s well, size matters! And the guys get a mini mum, or garter they wear around their mums now too!

Go Big or Go Home!

Some do really take this homecoming tradition for all it is worth. Some girls want a mum the size of Texas, literally. These girls definitely need a neck massage after wearing their mumstrocities all day at school! How these 100lb nothing girls stay upright, I am not sure. And for others, a sweet, personalized and “normal” size mum is just as fun.

The other factor determining whether you go big or home also comes down to the cost. In the 80’s and 90’s and even today, lots of moms and grandmothers and teachers make a nice income from selling mums during the months of September and October and you can find many custom items for mums available on Etsy shops. In many areas, mums have become big business and from my understanding and total shock, some mums can go upwards of $300. In fact, a few years ago there was a TikTok trend where high school girls would show off their mums and then share the price. A few even stated that their mums cost $500 to make! But no worries, the average DIY mum usually starts around $65 depending on the size and hobby lobby discounts! Purchasing a mum from “the mum lady” will cost at least $75 and up, depending on size.

To DIY or To Buy

If you want to buy a mum you have lots of options. You can usually order mums online, Etsy, local flower shops, and every high school has a local mum mom or teacher who makes them too. Buying a mum is a great option, but you really have to be ahead of the game and make your orders weeks in advance as many of the local shops and moms fill their orders very early on. This is easy if you know who your kid is “proposing” to (which is a whole other topic!), but if they are still trying to figure out dates, time is not on your side.

DIY is a fun option but also takes time and some skill or creativity. You can also save a little money too. Supplies can be found at any craft store (remember local craft stores will have your high school colors available). You can also find homecoming mum supplies on Amazon, as well as more personalized items on Etsy.

I have made each of my son’s dates their homecoming mum. It has been something I look forward to because I can get my creativity flowing. I take the time to find what the girls want and like, and add a bit of their personality into the making of the mum. Usually, I gather with a few mums and we share some ribbons and glue guns and staplers and wine and make a night of it. It’s become a fun tradition of our own.


There are some things about high school and Homecoming mums that I can roll my eyes at for sure! The tradition of the mum itself, however, I rather enjoy. I love football season and dances and all the fun that the season brings. This is one tradition that your kids will look back on with joy and laughter. They’ll see the pics of their mums and remember the name of their date because it’s glued onto the ribbon! They will recall the good things of growing up. There may be a lot of things in this world that are hard and confusing and wrong, but traditions like Friday night lights and school dances and dates and homecoming mums, are all good things we can hold onto.

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Andrea Portilla
Andrea is a true Houston native! Other than her college years at Baylor and a few summers with family in Guatemala, she has lived around the Houston area forever and cannot imagine living anywhere else. Especially because of family nearby as built in babysitters, so many friendships built throughout the years, and the great people of this city, Houston is so dear to her heart. In junior high her family moved to the Sugar Land area, but she attended a high school in town and spent as much time as possible at the Galleria in the 90s! After graduating from Baylor University with a degree in Secondary Education, she married her high school sweetheart, Orlando, and they moved to the Richmond area where they have been ever since and where she homeschools their son and 2 daughters, ages 15, 12 & 9. Andrea is very active in Women’s ministry at her church and in her community. She began writing for more therapeutic reasons when the kids were small and soon began writing publicly, remembering her love for writing and realizing the gift and calling that it was in her life. She published her first book, Breathless: Prayers from a Mother Learning to Exhale in 2018, a devotional last year and is currently working on a few new projects. In her down time, Andrea loves alone time, especially because she’s an enneagram 4! She also loves coffee, hanging out with her family and friends, traveling, New York City, musicals, especially Hamilton, fair trade jewelry, and charcuterie boards! You can find her writing at www.andreaportilla.com or follow her on Instagram @dreaportilla and on Facebook.


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