Around this time of year it seems no home is complete without a scarecrow planted firmly in the front yard. Despite the decided lack of crops (whose ideas was it anyway that scarecrows are appropriate for a holiday that falls after the harvest is complete in most areas of the country?) or crows, I see them everywhere. Cheap, screen printed and produced by the thousands (in China, no doubt) they hang like an eerie army of look-alikes across the land.
Fortuitously last year, just as I was ready to take yet another bag of old clothes to Goodwill, I was feeling a bit crafty and decided to make my own scarecrow from The Hamster’s old clothes. This turned out to be rather easier than I thought and I’ve decided to keep up with this tradition each year – creating my own army of scarecrows in ever increasing sizes to guard my front yard.
Our scarecrow is necessarily on the small side. It was made with 3T clothes The Hamster had outgrown and so is a bit of a delight to the kids in the neighborhood who often come up to give it a hug. I sewed the shirt and pants together to keep it in one piece for easy storing, and then stuffed it with old newspaper.
The head is made with a piece of burlap purchased at the fabric store, cut into two circles and sewn together. You can use a burlap bag too. Frankly though, I’m not exactly sure where you buy one of those. The nose and mouth are cut from pieces of felt and sewn on. This step is so easy that The Hamster, at that time, 4-years-old did this part himself. The eyes are pom-poms sewn on…but you could as easily use buttons or beads.
For hair we simply cut about 20 pieces of yarn to the same length, then tied them in the middle and sewed the skein onto the head. An old toddler hat was then sewn on top. We purposely gave our scarecrow green eyes and blondish red hair to match my DS’s. While adults seem to miss the point, children, for some reason when seeing it know right away that it is my DS.
We used a four foot bamboo pole, purchased at Home Depot, to hang our scarecrow friend. I found that running a pipe cleaner through the belt loops on the pants and then fastening it around the pole in the back, worked for keeping it upright. A second pipe cleaner poked through the hat and attached to the pole kept the head upright. I used a bit of masking tape on the pipe cleaners though, to keep them from sliding down the pole.
Because this is a small scarecrow it isn’t very heavy. I didn’t need a crossbar to keep the arms extended but was able to simply stuff the sleeves. The head, shirt and pants are all basted together which made it a bit of a challenge to stuff but little energy to put up and take down each year. I did however,have to really pack the neck and shoulders (which took a few tries) to avoid extensive floppiness.
A few handfuls of straw, which I purloin each year from holiday fair sites, are stuffed into various openings to complete the look. On Halloween night, we’ll add my DS’s old pumpkin costume he wore when he was 2, over top for a festive look.
I’m looking forward to making this year’s scarecrow. The Hamster gets a little more say and who knows how it will turn out.