Loughton Scarecrow Trail 2024 - Entry Deadline 30 April

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Our 2022 Scarecrow Entry

We’re a large-ish village within Milton Keynes – one of the oldest parts to be included when the New Town was conceived in the 50s – and there’s a great community feel here in Loughton. One of our regular calendar highlights is the scarecrow trail, which draws hundreds of visitors from across MK and beyond every other year. This year it’s back, after a three-year hiatus because of You-Know-What, and the Loughton Scarecrow Trail 2022 is going to be a fantastic event.

Starting on Saturday 18 June and on display until the end of Sunday 26 June, over 50 households have created entries – and they are always at an astonishing standard.

The theme this time is Around the World in 80 Scarecrows, and we decided to throw our tricorn hat in the ring: we’ve gone for the Caribbean, and by popular demand from the kids, he’s a pirate! Here’s how we put our terror of the seas and his props together, plus details of how you can see him and all the incredible scarecrow displays, if you’re able to get here...

The Design

Loughton Scarecrow Trail 2022 RLC Words Milton Keynes copywriter
As well as the essential scarecrow element, we wanted to include other pirate must-haves – a ship, a flag, a cutlass, some grog, some treasure, and some swashbuckling music.

Mr RLC cut the prow of the ship from an old TV box, and fixed it to the front of another one. Then everything was painted with woodstain. We tried a spray paint approach at first, but it just didn’t cover nicely. I was concerned that stain would be too watery, but it worked a treat – and it’s protecting the cardboard from the odd shower as well! The mast and crow’s nest also started life as delivery boxes, and the rigging once covered the garden pond.

The boys had a job each – one did the flag, and the other masterminded the treasure chest, which includes some sparkly booty for intrepid visitors.

With kind forebearance from our neighbours, we set up a motion-activated speaker which launches into the iconic Pirates theme tune whenever a land-lubber approaches!

The Scarecrow

Boat shipshape, we turned to the pirate himself. This link on how to build a scarecrow, provided by the organisers, was very useful in getting us started: https://burlapkitchen.com/diy-scarecrow/
I thought it would be much easier to keep him steady for the week if he were sitting down, so we included a supporting box to prop him up against the mast.

I found a second-hand pirate costume for a few pence on eBay, stuffed the body with an old pillow, and cut up a second one for the legs and arms. All he needed now was a head…

Loughton Scarecrow Trail 2022 Body RLC Words Milton Keynes copywriter

The Head

I didn’t think I’d ever need papier mache skills beyond primary school, but there is no better way to fashion a sort-of-head shape! It was a full-time job to get the stuff to stick, stop the dog from licking up all the drips, and restraining the boys from a flour fight…but eventually we ended up with a beige ball, which then ended up as a rather pink pirate, thanks to the paintbrush skills of Mr RLC. The acrylic paint is also doing a grand job of keeping the raindrops out.
Loughton Scarecrow Trail 2022 RLC Words Milton Keynes Copywriter
Loughton Scarecrow Trail 2022 RLC Words Milton Keynes copywriter

The Finishing Touches

On the day before official opening of the Loughton Scarecrow Trail 2022, our display had to be up by noon, ready for the official judging. Our pirate sat up quite nicely, but needed some old-fashioned lashing to the mast to secure him properly. We scattered some sand around, chalked a blue sky and a palm tree on the wall, hoisted the flag where it wouldn’t set off the sound sensor, and set out the grog and the chest (which includes some tasty treasure for those lucky enough to find it!).
I could have fafffed on for hours with his arms, cutlass, hair and parrot, but left him alone in the end for the judges (although I did keep popping out all morning to conduct welfare checks!). I’m very proud to report that we won a rosette – the coveted Organiser’s Choice award!
Loughton Scarecrow Trail 2022 RLC Words Milton Keynes copywriter

The Event

You can see our Pirate of the Caribbean, and over 50 other ingenious and fabulous scarecrows, all around Loughton from 18-26 June 2022 inclusive. The displays will be up for the full 8 days and you can purchase a map of the suggested routes to see them all for only £3.

They’re available on Saturdays and Sundays from the Scout helpers at All Saints Church in Loughton, between 10am and 4pm. If you need one on a weekday, take the right change to 28 London Road (between 10am-12 and 2-4pm).

All the money raised from map sales goes to charity. 

I can’t wait to get out there ourselves, and see all the effort and talent that goes into the Trail every time!

Loughton Scarecrow Trail 2022 RLC Words Milton Keynes copywriter
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