I was at the 2011 St. Charles Scarecrow Festival. It was filled with people who came to see all the scarecrows on display. The scarecrows that attracted the most attention were the mechanical scarecrows (like the Harry Potter duel pictured above). I have a brief video showing these crowd pleasers.
I tend to be something of a scarecrow fundamentalist. Scarecrows should follow certain rules! But so many scarecrows completely disregard scarecrow tradition. Creativity with scarecrows is great, but when is a scarecrow no longer a scarecrow? Instead of a scarecrow, we get a something like a Halloween yard decoration.
What are the rules for scarecrows?
RULE NUMBER ONE: I’d suggest that a scarecrow should represent the human figure to some extent, and should wear human clothing. The point of a scarecrow was to scare birds by fooling them into believing men were in the fields. Stuffed animals are NOT scarecrows!
RULE NUMBER TWO: Scarecrows should incorporate some of the material of the harvest. They could be filled with straw, or have a pumpkin or gourd as a head. Scarecrows made of plastic are NOT scarecrows, but mannequins!
RULE NUMBER THREE: Scarecrows are not mechanical! They do not move, sing, wave, belch or jump. Mechanical “scarecrows” are NOT scarecrows but robots and automatons!
At the side above is a picture of my favorite scarecrow at the festival. It is the most traditional. It is almost life-like and even has stuffed crows on its arm demonstrating its original purpose.
Below are examples of scarecrows that break the rules. There is a carrot monster, breaking rule number one: human appearance. There is a zombie scarecrow, which makes for a chilling Halloween lawn decoration, but it is not a scarecrow.
Below is a scarecrow that fits the traditional model, having a gourd head and stuffed with straw. It even wears a hat, which might be a fourth rule for scarecrows.
Finally, we have a scarecrow that successfully breaks the rules. We have a traditional scarecrow milking a plastic cow. Some rules can be bent!
Below is a brief video of the mechanical “scarecrows”.