Monday, February 20, 2012

Crow's never saw it coming

There is little in the traditional Halloween that really freaks me out. Skeletons are just pre-marimbas. Vampires tend to leave a bit of glitter everywhere and clutter up your doorstep. Jack O'lanterns only require a few days and a warm October day. And ghosts, well, there are probably more ghost hunting teams than pizza places in any location anymore.

But there is one that gets under my skin and jumps up and down on my psyche in the quiet moments of darkest night. The scarecrow: the mostly unhuman straw man stuffed and hung up to die for our food out in the midst of a forest of corn.

Perhaps it comes from growing up in the land of corn and cows but for me you can only do scarecrows one of two ways, either they're the cutesy floppy hatted, painted smile grandmothers hang up once the autumn chill whispers through the leaves. Or they're a walking, lurching horror stuffed full of straw and nightmares.

You can guess which I prefer. And, because most of the typical Halloween decorator doesn't have such a strange proclivity with scarecrows I decided this was the year I'd finally make my own.

My first step was making a head. Luckily if there's one thing that's easy to find in this house it's skulls.

I chopped off a section of PVC for a neck, bored a hole into the skull and glued them together. Then my scarecrow's head got stuck onto a wine bottle to act as a holder for the next messy part or because my scarecrow is also a raging alcoholic.

Now for the fun part, remove all rings, watches, clothes and any skin you don't want to get damaged; we're latexing.

I used paper towels and that ooey gooey stuff that makes everything from goblins to zombies to mage staffs.

A bit less friendly looking now. The nice part about latex is you can easily go in stages, letting one level dry before coming back and tackling another with fresher eyes.
Now for the painting!

Normally stain would be used but I wanted to go for something really dark to contrast against the eventual burlap so out came my black paint, a lot of patient dribbling of watered down acrylic and repainting.
Because a single color can get a bit dull to the eyes, and I can be an insane perfectionist about things no one will ever see, I went back over with a bit of brown for some depth/because I pulled my brown out.
Now to scarecrow that bad boy up.

I had no plans for where burlap would go, I simply cut and frayed it up and glued it in place haphazardly. The hat still needs more aging (but someone, I won't name names here, went and ran out of black paint) and some resizing to fit the tiny skull head but here is my unsettling scarecrow head.
The next step is to build up the body, which I put in my husbands hands. As he's already made Doug the gravedigger, I figure this has to be a zombie walk.

 And this is just another one of the many many reasons that no one will ever talk to me.

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