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The Scarecrow Prop - Page 1

The Scarecrow in the Light
The Final Scarecrow in the Light
Scarecrows! The very name strikes fear into the hearts of people everywhere!

Ok, it actually doesn't do that at all. Most people think of Ray Bolger or those cheerful, dopey things that people stick on hay bales in their front yard. (A rare few think of Patrick McGoohan, but that's a whole different story which we won't go into here.) Anyhow, I decided in 2010 that I was going to create a scarecrow that would at least seem horrifying so that I could force my friend John to put it in his front yard during Trick or Treat. (Seriously.)

Scarecrow in the Dark
The Scarecrow Lit By Pin Spots
You might think that John would object to having this thing in his front yard. (I thought he might.) As it turns out, he couldn't wait to put it up because, as he said, "This year I will win the neighborhood decorating contest without even having lifted a finger!" (When I asked him if there actually was a neighborhood decorating contest, he replied, "No. But if there was one, I would win it.") So my qualms were unfounded. The reason? Check out John's 8 year old son Johnny's costume for this year (below center). I had completely misjudged the modern kid's capacity for handling gore. My scarecrow almost looks tame by comparison. In fact most of the trick-or-treaters seemed to like it. Some of the young teen girls even spotted and commented on the leaf organs ("Cool! The guts are made of leaves!"), which makes that part worth having done.

Scarecrow at John's House
The Scarecrow at John's House
Johnny and the Scarecrow
Johnny and the Scarecrow
Scarecrow in the Dark
The Scarecrow Prop in the Dark

The Scarecrow Prop in Light at John's House
The Scarecrow Prop With Flash at John's
scarecrow skeleton was actually an idea that I've had for about 10 years. The original idea came about because 1) I thought it would be interesting to create a scarecrow prop with its organs to be made of leaves. (It makes sense, right? No? Well, who cares what you think makes sense - it's my prop.) and 2) A company called Death Studios had this really, really cool scarecrow mask that I was itching to have an excuse to buy. I'd consider it every fall as the leaves changed and I admired the fiery reds and dark-colored purples and think, "Wow, that looks so like blood and liver!" (I'm sure you have thought this very thing when seeing the fall colors.) This would lead to considering the other organ colors and how I could make a neat scarecrow out of leaves. 

As I mentally pondered this idea, I came across another aspect of it - causing the skeleton to look as if it was made of wood. If a scarecrow had organs that were made of leaves, it would have a skeleton or wood, right? So I included that in the pile of scarecrow- related ideas. Next came leather gardener's gloves with blood on them, a towering crucifix-like gibbet structure to hang him from, a funereal ripped and torn black suit coat and pants, and, most importantly: an evil scarecrow's head.

The Scarecrow Mask
The Death Studios Scarecrow Mask
I found a mask (at left) made by Death Studios. DS is an amazing little mask company that I stumbled across a 15 years before undertaking this prop while on the way to a Halloween show in Chicago.

I had visited them back then and chatted briefly with the owner, who showed me his place. Their strategy (at least at that time) was to place one ad in the back of Playboy Magazine a month or two before Halloween. This contained four color photos of their extraordinarily high quality masks. In preparation for the response to this ad, the company spent the whole rest of the year creating masks. They would sell most of them out before Halloween ever hit. I thought this was really cool. 

My tastes have never really tended towards scarecrows - they usually gravitate more towards skeletons - but when I saw the Death Studios Scarecrow Mask,  I knew I had to come up with a reason for purchasing one. So I combined the concept of a wooden skeleton with leaf organs and...voila!...I had a reason to buy this mask.

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