For the past 7 years, we have welcomed the Fall Season in our neighborhood with our “Trail of Scarecrows” tradition.
What started out with 1-2 scarecrows at the entrance to our development of homes, grew to over 30 scarecrows that now line both directions of our entrance and down several streets.
This holiday tradition starts the last weekend of September and remains up until Black Friday.
We hold a Fall Harvest celebration and invite all the families in our development.
Together, we welcome in the season- connect, decorate cookies, play…then we put up the Scarecrows.
Families pick their favorite scarecrow and grab 6-8 clear zip-ties then find a tree on the main street into the development. Even at the age of 6 my daughter enjoys naming hers! Part of the responsibility and honor of hanging a scarecrow is to be able to name it and watch over him/her during the season.
It is so special to hear the stories the children and parents have to share and to see the look in their eyes as they drive by their special scarecrow in the morning on the way to school or come home from a tough day…the little things in life-right?
How to get started?
Just put up a scarecrow at the beginning of your development. If you do not have a community representative or do not live in an HOA (Homeowners Association) You can either put together a flyer or spread the word that everyone come to the pocket park and help put up scarecrows- it can be a potluck effort or just a gathering of 1-2 neighbors.
How to keep Scarecrows intact? We have tried everything to hold up the scarecrows and zip-ties work the best. They are pricey, but if you take your flyer into your local hardware store, they might just donate a couple packets for you to get your efforts underway. Storage? Get creative…we have a very generous neighbor that stores all our scarecrows in thier storage unit every season.
We live in a community that supports neighborhood gatherings..so by submitting a flyer, the Community Services department sponsors a $100 gift card to Costco (our local superstore)- so we are rarely out financially for food and tools. Never hurts to ask… If we need to replace Scarecrows, neighbors are always willing to chip in money to keep the tradition going.
Time is the most valuable item here- staying organized for the event, packing and unpacking the scarecrows, encouraging all to participate, designing, printing, picking up the food and delivering flyers to neighbors and service organization…it does take time…but when you see that smile or receive that wave – the warm feeling of gratefulness sets in and it is worth every minute.
FUN FACTS: As I researched what “Scarecrows” represented/names, look what I came across…Who knew? “Scarecrows around the World”
In Kojiki, the oldest surviving book in Japan (compiled in the year 712), a scarecrow known as Kuebiko appears as a deity who cannot walk, yet knows everything about the world.
In the United Kingdom, where the use of scarecrows as a protector of crops date from time immemorial, and where dialects were rife, there are a wide range of alternative names such as:
- Tatti Bogal (Isle fo Skyle)
- Mommet (Somerset)
- Murmet (Devon)
- Hodmedod (Berkshire)
- Tattie bogle(Scotland),
- Bodach-rocais (lit. “old man of the rooks”) Bwbach (Wales)
Alternative names for scarecrows:
- Tao-tao (Philippines),Bogle, Flay-crow, Mawpin, Mawkin, Bird-scarer, Moggy, Shay, Guy, Bogeyman, Shuft, Rook-scarer, Kelson, Espantapájaros (Spanish), Nuffara (Maltese), Espantalho (Portuguese), Epouvantail (French), Vogelscheuche (German), Vogelverschrikker (Dutch), Kakashi (Japanese), Spaventapasseri (Italian),Bijuka (Hindi) (Wikipedia 2011)
In the United States, a scarecrow is a decoy dressed in old clothes and placed in fields by farmers to discourage birds such as crows or sparrows from disturbing and feeding on recently cast seed and growing crops.