The History of Scarecrows

Fascinating facts about this seasonal decoration.


Image licensed by Ingram Publishing

Did you know that scaring crows used to be a kid’s job? In times and places where children were depended on to help with a family’s farming tasks, kids were encouraged to spook the birds and rodents out of the fields with noisy antics. As times changed, the pretend human figures we think of today were used in their place.

Scarecrows were needed throughout the whole growing season, first to protect the newly planted seeds, and then the resulting mature crops. These days, we tend to associate them with autumn, and the late harvest. Like a symbol of success, scarecrows are one sign of the feasting to come as locally grown pumpkins, apples and squash, arrive at the farmers’ markets and grocery stores.

Whimsical as they tend to appear, scarecrows also possess a quality of, well, spookiness – an eerie presence. Stories about scarecrows coming to life were once prevalent; they arose when farmers would move the figures to new positions in the fields. Many cultures have traditional beliefs about scarecrows possessing magical powers or a spirit. Not surprisingly, scarecrows have become popular decorations on front lawns and porches in late October, the witching season.

Kids still have a role to play when it comes to scarecrows. And that’s to help build them, to celebrate Thanksgiving or Halloween or both.

For instructions on how to build your own scarecrow check out  Easy-to-Make Scarecrows.



Author: Michelle Watson

Michelle Watson is a thrifty stay-at-home mom who lives near Millbrook with her husband and two children.

Share This Post On