It’s fall, go figure!
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.
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.
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.
Bad hair days are standard fare for scarecrows, so crown them with an outdated wig, worn out mop, or handful of straw.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.
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.