Scarecrow making is an idyllic autumn project. Turn it into a scarecrow-making party or a fun contest among friends and you’ll have an event that guests of all ages will enjoy. As a bonus, everyone leaves the party with a cute, one-of-a-kind fall display!
Hosting the Scarecrow-Making Party
For this outdoor project, you’ll need to allow ample space outside for each person, couple, or family to assemble their scarecrow. If you don’t have access to a spacious country barn, a carport or canopy set-up will work for a small group.
Once you’ve chosen the location, you’ll need these materials to construct the scarecrows:
1. Straw, square bale or two
4. Bamboo poles (two per scarecrow)
5. Hacksaw for cutting the bamboo to size
6. Optional: marking pens, safety pins, and a box full of overalls, old jeans, and clothes for guests that may forget to bring items to dress their scarecrow.
Ask Each Guest To Bring…
When preparing invitations or flyers for the event ask guests to bring items to dress their scarecrow, such as: jeans, plaid or denim shirt, suspenders, vest, overalls, bandana, dress and apron, hair, straw hat, cap, scarf or bonnet. (Shop the local thrift store or yard sales for clothing and accessories.)
Guests will make and decorate their scarecrow’s head in advance and bring it to the party. The head can be a stuffed pillowcase, covered Styrofoam, or a large painted gourd with a small hole cut in the bottom.
Hair can be fashioned from corn-husks, leaves, raffia, moss, corduroy fabric, yarn, a string mop, or a wig. Browse your local hobby and craft store for creative ideas. Example: One year I made a Raggedy Ann scarecrow. Her hair was a string mop that I dyed red. I used colored markers and drew the eyes, nose, and mouth on a large gourd that I used for her head. I cut a small hole at the small end of the gourd to fit over the vertical bamboo pole, to keep it in place. Raggedy Ann wore a dress topped with a colorful vest or apron.
Assembling the Scarecrow and Stand
For each scarecrow:
1. Using a hacksaw cut two bamboo poles to the desired size. To make a full-size scarecrow cut one bamboo pole to 3 feet in length and the other 5 feet long. Smaller, child-size scarecrows are an option for those transporting theirs home in a small car.
2. Lash the two poles together with twine, forming a lower case ‘t’. If you don’t have access to bamboo, you can use mop or broom poles.
3. Slip clothes over the bamboo and stuff shirt sleeves and pant legs with straw. Secure ends with twine to keep the straw stuffing inside the clothes.
4. Set the scarecrow’s head into place over the top of the vertical pole.
Judging the Scarecrows
Once all the scarecrows are dressed and assembled it’s time to line them up for judging. A blue ribbon and a couple of judges make it a real contest of creativity. Ask two or three people that will not be making scarecrows to do the judging. It’s also a good idea for the judges not to know who made each scarecrow until the judging is final.
Take plenty of photos of the crew with their scarecrows, to record the event and get ideas for next year. Guests can come dressed like scarecrows too with the help of a little face paint, a flannel shirt, jeans, and a straw hat. This memorable event will be one that everyone will want to repeat for years to come!
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Deborah Tukua is a natural living, healthy lifestyle writer and author of 7 non-fiction books, including Pearls of Garden Wisdom: Time-Saving Tips and Techniques from a Country Home, Pearls of Country Wisdom: Hints from a Small Town on Keeping Garden and Home, and Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. Tukua has been a writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004.