Chestnut Hill Academy, is getting ready for their Fall Festival. And one of their Fall Festival favorites is the SCARECROW building event! Not only are scarecrows fun to make, they are also a fantastic MUSE!
People have been building scarecrows for about 3000 years – all the way back to ancient Egyptian days. The Greeks, Romans, Japanese, and Native Americans all had their version of the scarecrow, too.
In England during the 1300’s children were actually used as scarecrows. No, they weren’t tied to a stick and stuck in the ground (wink). Children were given stones or clackers (two pieces of wood to clap to together) and sent off to chase the birds from the fields of grain.
In America during the 1800’s, children of the Zuni tribe would compete to see who could build the most unusual scarecrow. The Zuni tribe is a Native American Pueblo tribe of New Mexico who is still going strong today.
The scarecrow that is most recognized in America today came from European immigrants (people who moved from their original homeland to live in America). German immigrants in Pennsylvania are noted to have made human-like scarecrows called bootzamon or bogeyman. The bogeyman wore old overalls, a long-sleeved shirt, a straw hat and a red handkerchief around his neck. On the other side of the field or garden, a bootzafrau or bogeywife was sometimes staked in the ground, too.
Before the 1930’s famers used Scarecrows a lot! But then, pesticides (chemicals that are sprayed on crops to keep birds and bugs away) were made. Now, we don’t see as many scarecrows as before. But we do see them in some personal gardens, especially during the fall for decoration.
My favorite fictional scarecrow comes from the book and movie, The Wizard of Oz. Take a look at this video to see him singing one my favorite songs, If I Only Had a Brain!
And if you would like a costume for the Wizard of Oz scarecrow, show your parents this link to Amazon’s costume shop.
And for all those kids at Chestnut Hill Academy who are getting ready to build a scarecrow of their own, check out this “how to build a scarecrow” video. This goes for all my Creative Writing friends – if you want to build a scarecrow, make sure you have an adult around for help.
With this new knowledge, what kind of story could you write? Maybe these WHAT IF questions will help you get started.
WHAT IF your main character is scarecrow whose best friend is a….. CROW?
WHAT IF your main character built a scarecrow that came to life? What kind of personality would this scarecrow have, and what adventures would take place?
WHAT IF your main character was eating corn on the cob and suddenly turned into a scarecrow?
The possibilities are endless, and please leave your own what if questions in the comment section below. I’d love to see what you come up with.
So, grab a cup of hot cocoa, a pencil and a piece of paper, and let’s begin. With your imagination, we can go anywhere. I look forward to seeing where you take us.
The word of the day is “Pueblo”. Here is the definition: this is a Spanish word of village or town. When the Spanish settled the New Mexico area, they noticed that Zuni tribe lived in villages or towns, so they called them Pueblo people.