Look what we made this weekend! It’s a spooky scarecrow. Isn’t it fantastic? The project took less than an hour and looks terrific in our yard. We still need to carve a menacing face into the pumpkin head, but for now, it still looks decent uncarved.

Part of celebrating Halloween in New York is making a trek to (the real live!) Sleepy Hollow to see Legends Night. It’s super cool. Creepy and spooky without being horror-movie-like or a typical gory haunted house. We loved it. Old lanterns line the pathways. There are ghosts in a boat paddling on a pond. Storytellers recounting local legends. The Headless Horseman riding by. Fresh apple cider and donuts. Just wonderfully done through and through.

Around one of the bonfires at Legends Night, they had 3 simple scarecrows standing guard. Basically, they were a wood cross hung with old rags and topped with a pumpkin head. And they looked so dramatic all lit up by the fire. I’ve been wanting to recreate one (or three) for ages and this year was the year. It was so easy, I wish I had done it earlier.

How to:
1) Use 2x4s to build a simple cross. We used scrap wood found in our garage and nailed two pieces together. Make sure the vertical piece overlaps the crossbar by a few inches so that you can attach the pumpkin to it later.

2) Age the wood a bit by rubbing paint or shoe polish or stain into it. We used brown water-based craft paint for easy cleanup. We just dripped some paint onto the wood and the kids rubbed it in with wet rags.
3) Attach two metal rebar clips to the back of the cross with screws (see below).
4) Use some old or fallen branches and wire them to the crossbar to act as arms/hands.
5) Take some scraps of cloth (we used burlap scraps from our fabric stash). Rip them up and roughen the edges. Nail the pieces to the top of the cross. The fabric will continue to weather simply by being outdoors.
6) Cut a hole in the bottom of a pumpkin the same size as the end of the vertical 2×4. Slip the pumpkin onto the top of the cross. We used a funkin so it wouldn’t rot between now and Halloween and we can reuse it next year.
7) Hammer a piece of rebar into the lawn and slip the metal clips over the rebar. Our rebar went into the lawn at a slight angle — and it makes the scarecrow tilt a bit, which we like.

And that’s it. You can carve the pumpkin or leave it plain. It looks great either way. During the day the scarecrow looks fall and festive. During the night, ours is lit up by a nearby streetlamp. You could also use an outdoor spotlight to mimic the firelight from the bonfire.