This year’s My Favorite Scarecrow Contest will mark the 17th year of the annual event, according to Newtown Middle School art teacher Claudia Mitchell.
Each year eighth grade student groups are challenged to create a larger-than-life scarecrow, designed to frighten away a demon of their choice, that can withstand inclement weather.
The scarecrows are then put on display on Newtown Middle School’s front lawn on Queen Street, voted on by the public for $1 per vote, and the top three winning scarecrow groups receive the proceeds to donate to charities of their choice.
This year’s creations will be on display from Saturday, October 19, to Sunday October 27.
An estimated 40 scarecrows will be put on display this year, as a result of the efforts of 131 students, according to Ms Mitchell.
Each student group is limited to spending a certain amount on its scarecrow, and this year that limit is $30.
Voting on the scarecrows is open while the creations are on view for the public. Ballots will be available at the school, in the November 18 print edition of The Newtown Bee, and online here to print. Votes can be submitted with the accompanying payment to either NMS or dropped off at The Bee’s 5 Church Hill Road office. Votes can also be submitted in person to volunteers overseeing the scarecrows on Saturday and Sunday, October 19–20, and Saturday, October 26, between 10 am and 4 pm.
Ms Mitchell, who is one of the teachers at NMS who oversee the program, said students were reminded to be “extra sensitive” this year about the level of fear the scarecrows might provide. Each year students are asked to create scarecrows that are no more than “Disney scary.”
From ideas shared with her by students, Ms Mitchell said people can expect to see scarecrows based on popular television shows and Disney movies. Some of the scarecrows will be from Disney’s Monsters, Inc, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Snow White, according to Ms Mitchell. Another group of students is basing a scarecrow off of the NMS club called Labels are for Jars.
“This is a very lovely eighth grade,” said Ms Mitchell, adding the students have been reporting working on their creations since the contest was first announced near the start of the school year. “Hopefully we will get a wonderful surprise.”
Ms Mitchell also said the students, who will all receive community service hours for participation in the contest, have all been focusing on which charity they will choose to give money to if they produce a winning scarecrow.
“We consider this a gift to the town each year,” said Ms Mitchell.
Middle school parent Carol Wakeman, Ms Mitchell said, has been an integral part of the My Favorite Scarecrow Contest this year.
“Without her we could never have it,” she said. “We could not do this ourselves.”
Last year’s My Favorite Scarecrow Contest winner was “iPhone,” created by Emily Neave, Julia Sughrue, and Ali Manfredi.