Are Scarecrows for Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Both?

You can always tell when fall season is upon us by the decorated houses up and down the streets, displaying pumpkins, gourds, and of course, scarecrows. But are scarecrows just for Halloween or is it okay to keep them up through Thanksgiving?

While scarecrows may seem more suited for Halloween, given the first part of the name, they can work all through the fall season which includes Thanksgiving. Over 10 billion dollars a year is spent on Halloween décor, so it’s beneficial to be able to use items like scarecrows beyond October 31st.

It’s true that scarecrows are mainly a Halloween decoration, but the Thanksgiving holiday comes immediately after it, leaving one wondering whether you should still have them around afterwards.

Well, do not worry since this article will help you by giving insights on using scarecrows, as well as other autumnal decorations. Let’s dive in!


Are Scarecrows a Halloween Symbol Or a Thanksgiving One?

During the fall season, you’re bound to come across many decorations to remind you that summer is officially over. While you’ll see lots of orange and black, some spooky witches and goblins, you’ll also likely notice scarecrows. Are these only for Halloween, though?

The word scarecrow is made up of scare and crow, and was created by farmers to literally ‘scare crows’ and other birds from stealing crops. Since scarecrows look scary, they naturally became associated with Halloween, but their straw tends to make them festive for use at Thanksgiving, as well.

In fact, Amazon lists scarecrows like this as ‘Autumn Scarecrows’, refusing to limit them to just one fall holiday like Halloween. So you should feel just fine keeping your scarecrow for Thanksgiving.

And as already mentioned, over 10 billion dollars were spent on Halloween in the most recent year’s data according to the National Retail Federation. So being able to get longer use out of your Halloween decorations helps justify the expenditure.

This is even more important given that Thanksgiving is a holiday where people are spending a lot on food, so not having to buy more decorations is a win-win.

Keep in mind that scarecrows didn’t come around because of Halloween either, so that is further evidence that ‘it’s not a Halloween only’ decoration.

Using scarecrows came about, as said already, to help farmers protect their crops from pesky crows and other birds. But they do work well for Halloween. First, they’re ‘scary’ by design and secondly, they use straw, flannels, and other things that look fall-like.

Thus, scarecrows have become synonymous with harvest time, or fall/autumn. This is why we see scarecrows popping up around late September, marking the beginning of fall. The fall season runs from September through November.

Fall holidays include Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. While we can enjoy all fall holidays, Halloween and Thanksgiving are certainly recognized as the more popular ones.

So scarecrows are mainly for the Halloween season, but more and more people are continuing to use them during Thanksgiving time, and this is appropriate.

Scarecrows can be switched up from ‘Halloween scary vibe’ to a more Thanksgiving look quite easily, too. Simply keep the colors, clothing, and any other accessories more autumnal all fall season or replace any Halloween-ish things with basic fall colors of burnt orange, golds, deep reds, and such.

To be clear, then, if you are still questioning whether to keep your scarecrows up for Thanksgiving, the answer is yes.

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It is not much of a big deal here since Thanksgiving is also a holiday revolving around harvesting. Harvesting normally starts during fall, all the way to Halloween and Thanksgiving.  So, scarecrows are part of this season, so they will perfectly fit as décor for Thanksgiving and during the entire fall season.

Even so, scarecrows are more of a  Halloween thing than Thanksgiving. So, it makes more sense to have them up during this season. Even the theme for Halloween from how people dress up and the props are a perfect match of having scarecrows too at this time.

The case is pretty different for Thanksgiving, with one of the main symbols being a turkey. But the best option is to have the scarecrows up once the fall season starts. Then you can have to pull them down if you want during Thanksgiving and set up décor relating to this time to avoid confusion.

Why do we have scarecrows on Halloween?

A jack-o-lantern makes a great ‘head’ for a scarecrow.

The use of scarecrows for most farmers was to scare away predators from their farms. Halloween is usually a scary time, and people dress scarily, and the use of scarecrows is one way to mark it. There are various masks and costumes available with a scarecrow look that helps in marking Halloween time.

They tend to add a certain effect for this season and help match the theme for Halloween. So, it is just a prop that perfectly fits this period and is a great representation of the entire fall season.

What are Thanksgiving decorations?

Thanksgiving decorations often include shades and foods of fall.

So now we know that scarecrows can be used appropriately for Halloween and Thanksgiving, but are there decorations that fit only for Halloween, and those that fit only for Thanksgiving? Below I’ve made a table showing typical Halloween décor, Thanksgiving décor, and décor that works for both.

Halloween Only DecorationsThanksgiving Only DecorationsHalloween and Thanksgiving Decorations
Jack-O-LanternCornucopiaFall leaves
GhostsColored cornHay barrels
SkeletonsNative AmericansCandles
Table Illustrating Decorations for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Both

Why are scarecrows used for decorations?

There are many ideas for how to make scarecrows yourself that can be found on YouTube.

Every decoration has something that it tries to push through, such as a message, and some are just for fun or to make a room look spectacular. The same thing applies to scarecrows. As the name suggests, they may be a bit scary, but they make a perfect décor for Halloween, and yes, even Thanksgiving.

Originally, scarecrows were created to scare away, well, yes, crows but also other birds that would eat vegetation like corn. Farmers creating scarecrows to preserve their crops, placing them out in the fields. Scarecrows were intended to look like humans, with a face and body shape to mimic people. Crows and other birds would stay away, thinking people were in the fields.

However, it soon became apparent that scarecrows were a bit creepy for people too. This is why they are a perfect decoration for Halloween.

Yet, with a few tweaks, they are suitable for Thanksgiving too. With their straw, flannels, and fall colors, they fit right in to decorate porches, yards, and such. And when you design them with cute smiles, they look downright homey.

With stores like Hobby Lobby, Michaels, and even Walmart selling scarecrows for fall decorating, it’s obvious that most people agree that scarecrows make good decorations for fall/autumn. You can even customize your own, adding colors that fit better with your homestyle and such.

Take Down Halloween Décor to be Ready for Thanksgiving?

There is no specific time when you should take down your Halloween decorations, but the day after Halloween makes most sense. This is because there is less than a month before Thanksgiving, so it’s best to immediately get on with decorating for that holiday to maximize your time.

While some decorations can transition well, it is important to know that each holiday has certain themes and decors that it should have.

Scarecrows, however, can work with both so you don’t need to take them down.

You’ll want to remove any decor that is just for Halloween. This includes very scary things, ghosts, monsters, spiders, and so on. Usually there’s a lot of decor that is black, orange, or purple for Halloween and most of those should be taken down. You can possibly leave the orange items, but it really depends.

For example, Jack-O-Lanterns are orange and should be removed, but uncarved pumpkins could be left up for Thanksgiving.

To be clear, you can put up Halloween decor as early as mid-September without drawing unwanted attention (though a few people will start right after Labor Day). And you’ll want to put away strictly Halloween items as soon as possible after Halloween.

As for scarecrows and simply fall/autumnal decorations, you can leave those up all through November. Most people, however, will remove all semblance of fall the day after Thanksgiving, in order to usher in winter holidays like Christmas.

And of course, all of this is a guide. Ultimately you can decide to put up and take down holiday decorations as you wish, provided you don’t have an HOA/Homeowner’s Association or apartment complex that has rules pertaining to this issue.

Wrapping Up Scarecrows for Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Both

To wrap it up, scarecrows, while not originally intended as holiday decorations, have become clearly fall related. This means scarecrows are common decorations for Halloween, but also Thanksgiving.

So you can feel confident in adding scarecrows to your fall decorating theme and keep it up through Thanksgiving with just a few tweaks. And if you really enjoy decorating with scarecrows, throw some red and green tinsel on it and leave him up through Christmas!

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