The Spookiest Scarecrow Ever — Easy DIY

These spooky scarecrows are my favorite October project that I’ve ever created. The whole project takes less than an hour and will look terrific in any yard. 

Part of celebrating Halloween when we lived in New York was 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 had been wanting to recreate one (or three) for ages and I finally did it. It was so easy, I wish I had done it earlier.

Here’s the easy how-to (written, and in video form):

Easy Scarecrow Instructions

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 with a menacing face 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.

Find video instructions above or on Youtube.

49 thoughts on “The Spookiest Scarecrow Ever — Easy DIY”

  1. This was awesome! (And it’s kind of wild to hear your voice! After reading for so long, I’m getting a real kick out of seeing–and hearing!–more of you).

    This craft was totally achievable. I liked its simplicity and that it looks like something we could do after a quick trip to the hardware store in one afternoon. The instructions were super clear and obvious, and your tone was just right. :)

    Congrats on your first video! Can’t wait for more.

    1. Oh man. Hearing my own voice always sounds so strange to me! I think everyone probably feels that way. I remember being a child and hearing my voice on a tape recorder and I didn’t believe it was really me!

      Thanks you for the kind feedback, Monique!

  2. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard your voice after reading for so long — it’s just how imagined with your writing. Can’t wait to see and hear more of you in your future Celebrations videos!

    Such a great video and achieveable project… so perfect for this time of year.

    1. Funny you mention pumpkins. Sourcing them was the hardest part of this video! We had put a listing on the French Craigs List and bought them from a farmer. We wanted 3 but could only find two!

  3. I just had the thought a few days ago, “I wonder what Design Mom’s voice is like?” haha. Love the video! Good work.

    1. Too funny! In one of the recordings I made, when we got to the part where we nail the 2 pieces of wood together I said, “At this point, you’ll wonder why Design Mom is having you build a giant cross for your yard…”

      : )

  4. I had to stop and think Is that DesignMom talking or someone else narrating? I guess we’ve never really heard your voice before. :) I’m excited to see (and hear) more!

  5. Wonderful! I love the idea and you did a great job! I agree with the others – I don’t think I’d ever actually heard your voice before (at least not at length). It’s very you…or at least as I imagined you. : )

    1. It’s so comforting to hear I sound like you imagined from my writing. I hope so! I’m really hope that if I stick with this, I’ll sound more and more at ease.

  6. Gabrielle!!

    I LOVE your voice! So neat to hear it after reading your ‘voice’ in words for so long.

    This was a great tutorial, can’t wait to see more of them. Brilliant job! :)

  7. CONGRATS! You have so many things going on how do you manage it all?!? People ask me that all the time but this is nothing compared to you ;-)

  8. Cool! I might make these on a smaller scale for the front yard. I’ve been trying to buy Halloween decorations for days now, but they’re all so gory they would scare the jeepers out of my 2 and 4 year old girls. I think these are just right, spooky, but not gory. LOVE IT!

  9. My work blocks videos (stupid corporate job – expecting me to work!) so I can’t view it until later, but congratulations!
    I know what you mean about butterflies! I always need to be pursuing new challenges and situations, but when those butterflies kick in, I find myself reverting to a shy 12 year old who just wants to melt into the walls.

    1. Funny you mention videos at work. I was on a panel with Maxwell from Apartment Therapy last week and the topic of videos on blogs came up. He mentioned that from a business perspective, 9 to 5 was a blogger’s “primetime”, but that people can’t watch videos at work, so AT is experimenting with the idea of silent videos. Fascinating!

  10. I loved this! You have such a kind voice in writing and in person! We just visited Sleepy Hollow last weekend and I found it all so inspiring. Glad to have some instructions to make something happen in our yard!

  11. i hate halloween, totally hate being scared or spooked or anything of that nature. i did however love your video and that’s saying something. maybe good things can come out of halloween after all :)

  12. Really fantastic job! I’ve been reading your blog for a while and it’s so much fun to watch and hear you. I love the DIY scarecrow idea and look forward to seeing more of your ideas and you!

  13. Thanks for a terrific birthday gift! I opened up pinterest to find these delightful spooky scarecrows! I am so ready to crank out these spooky guys this weekend! I just love your video and enjoy seeing you bubbly personality on my computer. Keep em coming!

  14. I didn’t have a chance to see the video. However, my husband peeked over my shoulder and saw the scarecrows a few nights ago. When I cam home tonight, they were on the front lawn, and they sent a chill through my spine! And while he was putting it up, he did have someone come by and ask about the crosses on the front lawn :) Thanks for the great idea!

  15. Just in case you need a little more external validation, you were great. You have such a pleasant sounding voice that sounds like you have been making videos forever, really. This is a fun idea. Easy to execute. And definitely not yucky scary, I despise yucky scary, why do people think it’s cool?

  16. LOVING these videos!! (I’m watching them in my blog reader and had a bit of a back log, so this first one is actually the last one I saw) It’s fun to hear your voice and these ideas are so simple and approachable yet elegant and fun. Great video series!! And you look great :)

  17. Pingback: Everything Halloween - Simple Sojourns

  18. Can’t wait to build these for our front yard this weekend. I already have everything needed between my husband’s building supplies and my piles and piles of fabric. Thanks for your hard work in making these appear accessible to make.

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