A grinning Jack-o-lantern sitting on top of a corn shock is to Halloween as Cassandra Peterson is to a Google Image search.
In a recent email, someone complained to me that he didn’t have time to build a scarecrow. Now, having time and making time are two different things, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt and began exploring ways to speed things up a bit.
What I discovered, however, was that simplifying a scarecrow without sacrificing essential scarecrow-y-ness just wasn’t possible. Arms are necessary. Some kind of body is necessary. It’s a scarecrow, not a vacuum cleaner. But I kept pondering. I do that alot.
What would we, in the bottom of our kettle, end up with if we distilled a scarecrow? Assuming it was even possible without having to sacrifice anything or give an indian medicine man a station wagon. What would be the final essence? I suppose that would depend on the nature of the scarecrow, but let’s assume a Grumble or a Bruno. Reduced to its barest form, I think we would simply see a grin of fire.
From that point, this idea sort of builds itself. How many plastic Jack-o-lantern-sitting-on-a-corn-shock lamps are there in your house? We have many. They’re so cheery and warm. Let’s build a full-size one that’s scary and on fire.
This could be very, very cool, and it would be much less technically challenging for folks who might be a little shy of all this artsy-fartsy paper mache stuff. You would still have to build a head, but the head is the easiest part of a scarecrow (to me, anyway).
Drive a tall tomato stake into the ground about 12-16″. Or use an old broom stick, or any sturdy post. You’ll want something about 6 or 7 feet tall. Next, get a couple of corn shocks and tie them together with twine or string. Set this super corn shock over the post. You might have to wrap some string around the post and then tie it around the two shocks. The post will help to keep the whole affair from blowing over.
Mount your pumpkin to the top of the post. If your post is short or your shocks are very tall, then just wedge the pumpkin in amongst the stalks. Secure it with string or wire by drilling holes in the back and sides of the pumpkin and threading it through. Make sure he won’t blow away!
And there it is. The Jack-o-corn … corn-o-lantern … junk-o-puke … Um … Pumpkin Shock!
Okay, I have to say this. Do not
set your corn shocks on fire. Unless you’re planning on making some kind of stand, don’t try to mount a real pumpkin. Use an electric light or flashlight to light your Jack-o-lantern. Don’t use candles. Don’t try to pour a cup of ice through a hole in the rusted out floorboard of a VW Beetle at high speed. Don’t taunt a cornered possum.