Pumpkin Scarecrow – Tutorial for a great scarecrow prop using easy to find materials
This is a traditional Halloween prop that combines the old fashioned scarecrow and the famous Halloween staple, the Jack O’Lantern. This tutorial is more of a guideline on how to make a scarecrow, with a pumpkin head. As always, I encourage the reader to go wild with their creativity and use different materials, shapes and sizes. Make the scarecrow that fits you and use this as a guideline. If you want to make it identical to this one, then go ahead and follow the instructions, step by step and you should end up with a Jack O’Scarecrow very similar to this one.
Materials and Tools:
Medium sized fake pumpkin (any kind, but Funkins work well)
Jack O Lantern face template (free here – adjust size to your needs) or design your own
8 ft Fence board
Scrap pieces of wood (I used some 1×2’s of varying lengths)
Dried up tree branches, it’s OK if they still have leaves
Used trench coat
String lights or battery powered LED tea light or strobe
Rope or twine
Spray foam (great stuff)
Flat black spray paint
Fake crow (optional)
Sharp knife (for carving the foam pumpkin)
For these and more materials, check the STORE
Holding the pumpkin steadily, very carefully, with a sharp eXacto knife, carve out the eyes, nose and mouth using the template as a guideline. Set pumpkin aside. Go ahead and spray paint all the wood pieces with the flat black paint and let dry.
Slide horizontal cross piece of wood into the trench coat through one of the sleeves. Center across the coat. It should look like wide open arms, but shouldn’t extend out of the sleeves. Now slide the fence board under the cross piece all the way to the neck line. Adjust and center the board and screw in place. You should have a cross built under the coat.
Make two piles of branches about the same size. Bunch them up by the stems (like a bouquet of flowers), wrap the bases snugly with twine and tape over the twine tightly with the duct tape. Do this to both piles.
Slide the bunches of branches along the cross piece into the coat through the sleeve openings. Do the same on the other side. Step back and look to make sure everything is centered and the branches are the same distance from the center board and same height from the floor.
Once everything is centered and balanced, wrap a couple of zip ties to secure the branches to the cross piece. Tape over the cross piece and branches for a more sturdy scarecrow.
This part can be varied a bit. In this case we screwed the bottom of the fence board to a wood base made from the wood scraps. Use some angle supports to make the base sturdy. Remember, this scarecrow has to not only withstand its own weight, but hold up in wind and other weather.
Once the base is secure, stand the scarecrow (it’s easier to work on it this way, but you may need a chair to reach, depending on how tall it is)
Find a large branch and attach it to the fence board on the front of the scare crow. The stem will be the neck and the branches can be the ribs/body filler for the inside of the coat. Make sure to leave about 3 to 4 inches of stem sticking out of the neckline of the coat (past the cross piece).
Make a hole slightly larger than the diameter of the “neck” branch. If you are using string lights, feed these into the pumpkin through this hole and leave the plug sticking out of the back of the hole.
Slide the pumpkin head over the stem until you get the desired height and angle. Fasten and secure using spray foam or a glue gun. Let dry and run the electric cord down the back of the fence board (but under the coat). Fasten with a stapler, being cautious not pierce the cable with the staple points.
Find the place where the scarecrow will be set up and adjust his position until perfect. Once the scarecrow is in position, hammer 2-3 tree stakes into the ground and then screw them onto the base. Alternatively, a back of rocks or cement can be used to anchor the scarecrow.
Run an outdoor extension cord under the coat and plug the lights in. Step back and enjoy! You an add hay bales and dried corn stalks to the display for even better effect.
One thing I did that was a hit, was added a small bowl of water inside the pumpkin and threw some dry ice in it. It looked really cool, but I had to keep replenishing the dry ice all night long. Next year, I’ll be hacking my fog machine to come out of the pumpkin…but that’s a whole new tutorials.