It’s fall, go figure!

Standing guard. Occasionally, fall scarecrows protect gardens, but mostly they decorate them. All images by Diane Morey Sitton

It’s hard to say when scarecrows first walked off the job, leaving pea patches and corn rows behind to lounge on front porches among pumpkins, gourds, and potted mums. Yet, today, more than ever, legions of these one-of-a-kind, rag-tag figures have surrendered their bird-scaring savvy to become the darlings of harvest displays and fall decorations.

And nothing could be more fun.

In Texas, as elsewhere, part of their charm stems from their individuality. Although farmer figures decked out in faded overalls, plaid shirts, and tattered hats still seem to set the standard, scarecrows gussied up as movie stars, rock stars, super models, and sports heroes are as common as the plastic crows that sit on their shoulders. Look around. Fall is filled with fishermen, fairy princesses, and cowboys. There are zombies, space creatures, and astronauts.

Hefty harvest. Like pumpkins, scarecrows come in all sizes and shapes.

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And just as the sky’s the limit as to how scarecrows can be dressed, when in the hands of creative scarecrow builders, there are no limits as to how scarecrows can while away the hours. Forget about slumping in a rocking chair or loafing beside a checkerboard, today’s “can-do” figures chop wood, push lawn mowers, climb trees, kick footballs, ride bicycles, drive wagons, and steer vintage tractors. Some scarecrows, head over heels for fall, turn cartwheels; others do headstands.

Head over heels. Fall scarecrows keep busy by chopping wood, riding lawn mowers, and waving to neighbors. This gleeful figure turns the tables by standing on his head.

Best of all, the basics for creating scarecrows are simple. Attach a crosspiece to a sturdy upright post, and then let your creativity and resourcefulness take over. Ransack the rag bag. Raid the closet. Need stuffing? Gather hay or stuff styrofoam peanuts into plastic bags. Make a head from a pillowcase, burlap sack, bucket, or milk jug, or go organic by using a pumpkin or gourd. Draw a face with craft paint or waterproof markers, or fashion features by attaching buttons, bottle caps, or felt.

Sitting Pretty. Accessorize harvest figure with pumpkins, potted mums, gourds, Indian corn, and other symbols of fall.

Bad hair days are standard fare for scarecrows, so crown them with an outdated wig, worn out mop, or handful of straw. Accessorize with gloves, hats, glasses, scarves, shawls, bandanas, corn cob pipes, or whatever else catches your fancy.

Meet and greet. Neighbors and passersby get a friendly hello from this amiable scarecrow.

Whether fierce, feisty, or far-fetched, scarecrows are fun to make and fun to share the season with. In fact, it’s likely you’ll miss them when they are gone.


Where to see scarecrows
Scarecrows can be seen throughout the state this month at many botanic gardens, fall celebrations, nurseries, and scarecrow festivals. Check local events calendars and online for dates and times of events.

Posted by Diane Morey Sitton
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