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"Where your eyes don't go a filthy scarecrow waves its broomstick arms
And does a parody of each unconscious thing you do
When you turn around to look it's gone behind you
On its face it's wearing your confused expression
Where your eyes don't go."
They Might Be Giants, Where Your Eyes Don't Go
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Scarecrows are scary. There's no doubt about it. The fact that they look like corpses propped up, or the vaguely Christ-like looks, or the fact that they're meant to be human but don't look very human at all. A pumpkin head usually makes a great varnish for that "evil smile" and the desperate need for unnerving, blackened eyes. Expect one to be covered in stitches. As such, scarecrows are brilliant Nightmare Fuel fodder, so fiction is littered with examples of evil scarecrows.

Also, their humanoid appearance means that having a person looking like a scarecrow, imprisoned, dead, or hiding, gives extra creepiness. Compare Creepy Doll and Sackhead Slasher, where a (usually) live body wears a burlap mask which can make them resemble a scarecrow and draws on similar fears.

See also Lost in the Maize, the natural environment of scary scarecrows, and Sinister Scythe, their common Weapon of Choice.

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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • A scarecrow Desertrian was featured in a episode of Heartcatch Pretty Cure. It was created with the wiltering Heart Flower of a young woman wracked with guilt over her decision of leaving the family farm to get married at the city.
  • "Scarecrows" by Junji Ito takes place in a village where the population has discovered that by setting up scarecrows at the cemetery, the scarecrows will take on the appearance of the person whose grave they're planted on. If they're uprooted, they revert back to their cloth-like state. The scarecrows cannot talk, but they have a subtle capacity to facial expressions, which is enough for those who want to see their loved ones again. One murdered boy's scarecrow's stare causes his nervous murderer to trip and be impaled, while a young woman's scarecrow may or may not have killed her boyfriend. Both the means and the why are left undisclosed.

    Card Games 
  • The Magic: The Gathering set Shadowmoor introduced a veritable plethora of animated scarecrow monsters, from the lowly Heap Doll to the mighty Reaper King, and more have been released since. The default classification of scarecrows is Artifact Creatures of the subtype Scarecrow. Their behavioral range is on the dangerous side of neutral, but there's a few, like the aforementioned Heap Doll, that are helpful.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman and Ghost Rider both had separate villains called the Scarecrow. The Marvel version sometimes fights Spider-Man as well. As for the DC version, during the events of Blackest Night, he was deputised by the Sinestro Corps, thus acknowledging him, in Batman's absence, as the scariest entity on the planet.
  • Lord Pumpkin from The Ultraverse is a scarecrow with a pumpkin head and a magic candle inside who hails from another dimension called Godwheel. He was created by the court magician to be the prince's playmate. The sadistic prince tormented him until Pumpkin retaliated with murder. Then he staged a coup, took over the throne, grew bored, and came to Earth to be a mob boss. Lord Pumpkin ended up killed a few times, but as long as a seed from his pumpkin head survives, he can be reborn, although he needs his candle to be complete. Some rebirths leave him a Plant Person, while at other times he manages to gain a scarecrow's straw body again.
  • Wynonna Earp battles a demonic wheat scarecrow in "Blood is the Harvest".
  • Nightmares in Oz has a scythe-wielding scarecrow and its bat-like minions murdering people camping in an area that was cursed by a witch, though the twist ending reveals that they were the overzealous guards of an old post which, once destroyed by the protagonists in an attempt to banish them, allows the witch's ghost to break free from her magical imprisonment.
  • "The Burning", published in House of Mystery #206, features Adam Strat, who wakes up with no clue who he is in the care of the witch Meg. All she tells him, aside from his name, is that outside the farmers are burning the fields and that if she hadn't intervened he'd have burned along. Nonetheless, he hates her and repays Meg's kindness by handing her to the townfolk to buy his place among them. She is burned, but not before telling Adam he'll now know the truth. Adam is then transported back to the day he was saved, finding himself an immobile scarecrow while the flames creep closer and there's no Meg to save him.
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    Comic Strips 
  • In Conchy, Bug complains that people don't believe he is now a vegetarian instead of a cannibal. Conchy points out that his scarecrow might be sending the wrong message. Said scarecrow has a human skull on it.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Dark Night of the Scarecrow has some of these. Screenwriter J.D. Feigelson is actually credited with creating the "killer scarecrow" horror subgenre.
  • The Creeper disguises himself as a scarecrow twice: once at the cat lady's house in Jeepers Creepers and at the start of Jeepers Creepers 2.
  • Hollywood Voodoo-practitioner Dr. Kananga had installed creepy scarecrows around San Monique in Live and Let Die. The locals were made to believe that evil spirits resided within them, when in reality the scarecrows housed video cameras and guns. Rosie Carver is killed by one of these.
  • Dr. Jonathan Crane; AKA Scarecrow in Batman Begins.
    Would you like to see my mask?
  • See also the Cult Classic Scarecrows, in which a bunch of robbers find themselves in a rural area where a family of Satan worshipper have turned themselves into living scarecrows.
  • Every entry of the Scarecrow trilogy features a different killer scarecrow per a set formula. The scarecrow always looks like a stitched-up corpse and for the first two movies mains on dual-wielding sickles. It comes to life by being nearby a dying person and there's always cross imagery involved. The second movie makes a reference to Priapus.
    • In Scarecrow, Lester Dwervick is bullied by the entire town and eventually strangled in a cornfield. Lester had run there to see the scarecrow, which he envied for its carefree existence. The scarecrow becomes possessed by Lester's vengeful spirit and goes on a killing spree. He is destroyed when the Final Girl sets him on fire. However, for Twist I, it seems that she's now possessed by Lester's spirit. However, for Twist II, the movie is a story told by another character, Mitch, to two youths out in the cornfield. Once finished, he calls for Lester, causing the scarecrow to come and kill the others while he and Mitch laugh.
    • In Scarecrow Slayer, Caleb has been waiting for 35 years for the scarecrow that killed his father to come back to life so he can have his revenge. One night, buddies Dave and Karl try to steal the scarecrow, triggering Caleb to shoot Dave. He dies as the scarecrow falls on top of him and comes to possess the straw body. Karl stays by his side out of loyalty, even when Dave starts killing people. This loyalty ends when Dave sets out to turn his girlfriend Mary into a scarecrow to be with him. Feeling betrayed, Karl attacks Dave, but gets killed and possesses the scarecrow Dave made for Mary. The two scarecrows fight, resulting in Karl being knocked into a shredder and Dave being killed when Mary bazookas him out of existence.
    • In Scarecrow Gone Wild, Sam is tied up to a scarecrow and left for hours when a diabetic attack of his is mistaken for aggression. He doesn't die, but slips into a coma, which is enough for the scarecrow to come to life and go after his tormentors. Meanwhile, Sam's friend Jack finds him and takes him to a nearby hospital. There, he tries to awaken Sam with a Magical Defibrillator, both to save him and to end the scarecrow. It doesn't work, but by using the defibrillator on the scarecrow when it arrives in search of more victims, Sam is properly revived. What no one realizes until later is that now the scarecrow possesses Sam. The scarecrow in human form takes on Jack and tries to possess him instead when Sam's body is dying, so Jack impales himself on a crucifix to end the terror.
  • The opening scene of Sleepy Hollow sees Peter Van Garret and his son Dirk travel at night by coach. While passing a cornfield, Peter spots a pumpkin-headed scarecrow with his arms raised menacingly. He's disturbed, but can't dwell on it when something attacks and kills Dirk. Peter flees into the cornfield where he bumps into the scarecrow for a Cat Scare. Then the actual supernatural threat shows up and kills the man.
  • In Captain Clegg, there are these all around town. The smugglers actually hide inside them to keep their eyes out for the law.
  • One of these is responsible for the Zombie Apocalypse in Zombie Bloodbath 2: Rage of the Undead.
  • As a Shout-Out to the episode "The Frickert Fracas", in Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster Mystery Inc. recalls investigating a scarecrow that was terrorizing Old Man Frickert's farm. The scarecrow attacked the group inside the barn, which Shaggy accidentally blew up and burned down. It is not known if the scarecrow was a man in disguise or supernatural nor is it known how or even if the scarecrow got out of the barn.
  • The scarecrow from the Syfy Channel Original Movie Scarecrow is a being entirely made of twigs with a penchant for pulling the Ghostly Gape and crawling up places.
  • The 1995 horror film Night Of The Scarecrow has one that's possessed by the spirit of an evil warlock.
  • Eli in Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest turns his former foster father into an undead scarecrow, so that he has someone guarding his evil bible.
  • Planet of the Apes: Just before leaving the Forbidden Zone, the three astronauts find several things that could be scarecrows, but might in fact be human corpses that were strung up by the apes long ago.
  • In the prologue of Headless Horseman, the confederate private walks past a scarecrow only to stop and realize it is the headless body of the scout. Later, Headless poses as a scarecrow to terrify the teens. Doc questions why there is a scarecrow in the middle of a forest. When he turns around, the scarecrow pole is empty.
  • In Dead Birds, the gang encounter an unsettlingly lifelike scarecrow in the cornfield. It is later revealed that the scarecrow is actually Hollister; strung up as punishment for his crimes. Later, Clyde is transformed into a similar scarecrow.
  • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is an adaptation of More Tales to Chill Your Bones, so the iconic Harold appears and he's just as terrifying as ever. The scene where he stalks and kills Tommy, turning him into a scarecrow is one of the film's best (and scariest).
  • The monster in Husk is the spirit of a murdered farm boy whose body was strung up as a scarecrow. He now murders travellers and turns their bodies into scarecrows, and can leap between the scarecrows.

    Literature 
  • One of The Dresden Files books involved horror movie monsters coming to life thanks to Fetches, Faeries that feed on fear, taking their form; the biggest and baddest, Eldest Fetch, was a scarecrow that was over 14 feet tall - and he didn't just take the form of a scarecrow. He was the embodiment of human fear of the icon of the Scarecrow, though he could take other forms. As long as you're afraid of any of a fetch, they can brush off magic like it isn't there. However, if you aren't, if you're too tired, or too angry, then as more than one found, you're at Harry Dresden's complete lack of mercy (with a little help from the Summer Lady).
  • The short story "Know All" by Paul Jennings features a scarecrow coming to life after being dressed in a cursed tightrope walker's outfit. The story was adapted into an episode Round the Twist by the same name.
  • Goosebumps:
    • The Scarecrow Walks At Midnight, where the protagonist and her brother visit their grandparents' farm, only to come face-to-face with a dozen of these, brought to life by a somewhat psychopathic farmhand nearby. The spell that brought them to life is reversed at the end, but then the farmhand accidentally brings a bear pelt to life...
    • The Scarecrow, a short story about three kids who discover a mysterious scarecrow set up in front of an abandoned house has got articles of clothing they all want. Two of the kids take things off the scarecrow, but strange things start happening to them, leaving the third kid scared something will happen to her while trying to fight back the temptation of taking the scarecrow's gloves for herself. It turns out it was all a prank set up by the other two kids, but that doesn't explain why the scarecrow is suddenly smiling at the end.
  • Halloween Rain, a Buffy the Vampire Slayer tie-in novel, states that rain on Halloween turns scarecrows into homicidal monsters.
  • "Harold" in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones. Two farmers make a scarecrow they name "Harold", after a neighbor they both hate. They use it as a punching bag and call it names. It comes to life and skins one of the farmers. The illustration, shown above, is what makes it a scary scarecrow.
  • One of The Three Investigators novels is The Mystery of the Sinister Scarecrow. The eponymous scarecrow is a costume worn by several people to terrorize Miss Radford. The ruse was inspired by Radford expressing her dislike of scarecrows to explain why she didn't want to watch The Wizard of Oz.
  • The original cover of Nightmares & Dreamscapes depicts a scarecrow planted on the white marking in the middle of a road. It wears a Castle Rock Rockets baseball jersey in reference to Castle Rock, a recurring setting in Stephen King's works that also is featured in Nightmares & Dreamscapes. Other than that, the scarecrow has no connection to the book's contents and so it has no significance beyond being eerie.
  • Simon R. Green:
    • Secret Histories: The Drood family has scarecrows as one of the many defenses of their estate. It turns out they're actually the bodies (and souls) of the family's enemies, held between life and death, preserved and stuffed with straw, to animate and defend the house in times of need. If you listen in on the right frequency you can hear them screaming.
    • In Shadows Fall, the animated scarecrow Jack Fetch is the intimidating, unstoppable minion of Old Father Time, who sends Jack to wreck havoc on the invading Warriors of the Cross. He can't speak, but is strong enough to tip over a tank, and swiftly regenerates if burned, cut to pieces, or even blown up.
  • Eric Morse's unpublished fifth Friday the 13th novel would've had Jason's spirit possess a scarecrow that someone had stuck an old hockey mask of his on.
  • In Captain Crokus, the scarecrow turns out to be the Big Bad, who wants to kill all house pets, replace them with mechanical copies and brainwash children into zombie-like state.
  • Reverend Doctor Christopher Syn in Doctor Syn ("The Scarecrow") became The Scarecrow when he went to rescue a group of smugglers. To keep his involvement with them a secret, he took a scarecrow's clothes to disguise himself with. It was a bonus that the costume made him look intimidating and he's kept it ever since.
  • In the short story "Crewe" by Walter de la Mare, a servant is Driven to Suicide but returns in the form of a scarecrow.
  • The children's book The Night the Scarecrow Walked plays with the trope. The child characters see the scarecrow in his stubbled field and think he is sad and lonely, so they wish he could walk out of the field. On Halloween night they go to show him their jack o'lantern, only for him to come to life and leave his pole to walk toward them. They naturally flee in terror. The next day when they go to investigate, he is gone; they encounter a man wearing his clothes, but while rather unattractive (and apparently only able to caw like a crow) he is neither very scary nor does he do any harm to them.
  • The Scarecrows by Robert Westall are supernatural manifestations created from the murder on a miller by his wife and her lover during the war. In the 1980s, they are reawakened by Simon Wood, who has recently moved to a neighboring house. His relationship with his family is bad, because while he idolizes his dead father, his mother has remarried and even his sister likes the new guy. It's these negative emotions that bring about the three scarecrows, which ever so slowly proceed to close in on his new home. The situation forces Simon to come to terms with his new life as the only means to send back the scarecrows.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Are You Afraid of the Dark?, "The Tale of the Silent Servant": Two kids staying at a farm find a magic scarecrow who takes everything they say literally, i.e. the boy says he'd "like to kill" his cousin for taking his baseball glove.
  • Doctor Who: "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood" contains animate scarecrows attacking people. They move in a jerky way that's either scary or goofy depending on taste. What's genuinely scary is the episode's ending, where the Doctor punishes the villainous Family of Blood by giving them exactly what they wanted: immortality, in the worst way possible. One of them ends up made into a living scarecrow, damned to watch the fields of Britain forever. Beware the Nice Ones indeed.
  • As a Red Herring Twist, the episode "Harvest" of Endeavour sets up the expectation that the murder that occurred five years prior was a countryside Human Sacrifice. The opening shot that lingers on a lone scarecrow is the first hint in that direction. As it turns out, the scarecrow is just a scarecrow, though one that wears the victim's jacket, which offers several clues as to what happened to him.
  • The cursed antique in the episode "Scarecrow" of Friday the 13th: The Series is, unsurprisingly, a leather-masked killer scarecrow. It comes to life when a picture of a living person is pinned to its jacket, upon which it seeks out said person to end the "living" part. Its MO is to behead people with a scythe and three kills a year ensures a bountiful harvest to its owner. The scarecrow came into the possession of Marge Longacre, who recognized its power and began using the scarecrow as a tool of murder. Marge is killed when a framed picture of hers lands on the scarecrow and doesn't slide off until it has beheaded her. Micki and Ryan take the scarecrow back home, wondering whatever happened to all the heads it took.note 
  • Gotham: In "The Scarecrow", Jonathan Crane is injected with a massive dose of his father's fear 'vaccine'. It causes him to hallucinate a demonic scarecrow. This becomes his greatest fear and the effects of the serum cause him to see it coming for him perpetually.
  • The Haunting Hour: In "Scarecrow", a young farmer named Jenny has trouble ridding her crops of crows, so she buys a scarecrow from a mysterious salesman. Jenny soon discovers that the scarecrow is behind a chain of mysterious disappearances. When she and her brother look into these disappearances, the scarecrow comes after her. Then it turns out the salesman who sold her the scarecrow ''is the scarecrow''.
  • Horrible Histories' Pachacuti song:
    If you were a rival chief, we'd kill you first, and then,
    We'd stuff you like a scarecrow, but one for scaring men!
  • The League of Gentlemen: A man is trapped and posed as a scarecrow by a vengeful farmer for sleeping with his wife. At one point the Denton Twins are talking to the scarecrow when the head falls off revealing the bound and gagged man. He tells them he's been tied up and asks them to help him, which they already knew. They then put his gag back in his mouth and replace his head saying they want to stay friends.
  • Murder, She Wrote: In "Murder, Plain and Simple", the Victim of the Week is strung up as a scarecrow in the middle of a field.
  • "Hearts of Darkness" of One Foot in the Grave has a notably dark ending, in which Victor takes revenge on the abusive staff of a nursing home by encasing their feet in cement and disguising them as scarecrows in a field. Their cries for help go unheard.
  • A hostile scarecrow poses a threat in the episode "Revival" of Ravenswood. It first manifests in Remy's dreams and later attacks her and her friends in the real world.
  • In "Who Done It" of The Singing Detective, Marlow recalls the scarecrow he spotted during a train ride when he was little. It creeped him out for reasons unknown to him, and he imagined it to have Undeathly Pallor, stringy hair, and Monochromatic Eyes as well as to sing "After You've Gone" for him. Until present day, he's been having nightmares about the scarecrow visiting him from time to time. With some help, he puzzles together the source of his terror: the scarecrow reminded him of his truly terrifying and abusive homeroom teacher.
  • Supernatural features a Town with a Dark Secret in the episode "Scarecrow". The townsfolk practice Human Sacrifice to appease a Norse god called a Vanir, which inhabits an effigy resembling a scarecrow. In return, their town is granted prosperity. Sam and Dean destroy it by torching the god's sacred tree.
  • An episode of Tales from the Crypt called "Four-Sided Triangle" has shades of this. An abused girl living at a farm is constantly mistreated by the couple living there and the man lusts after her. After she hits her head in an 'escape attempt'' she seems to fall in love with the scarecrow in the field and goes out to visit it every night, and they believe she has gone crazy, making sure she will never leave. However, one night, the Scarecrow actually DOES come to life - because the farmer was hiding inside it in order to play on her madness and have sex with her. Too bad she had planned it and killed both of them.

    Music 
  • "Seven" by Boondox is about a Magical Seventh Son who as the Skarecrow murders people who enter his woods.
  • The narrator of "Scarecrow" by Siouxsie and the Banshees relays how they sneak out at night to converse with a straw scarecrow. The narrator inadvertently hints that the relationship is all in their head and that the scarecrow is an ordinary scarecrow. This is something their friends have been telling them, which the angered narrator plans to murder them for.
  • The setting of the album Danger Days: True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys by My Chemical Romance is a post-apocalyptic Crapsack World. The main threat comes from Better Living Industries, whose elite agents are called Scarecrows and possibly are humans-turned-cyborgs. They command the Draculoids, are expected to keep a steady kill count, and are to avoid any emotional baggage that might intervene with their job.
  • The narrator in Beck's "Scarecrow" refers to himself as a scarecrow so pointless that it's "only scaring himself". Whether the titular scarecrow is to be taken literallynote  or a figure of speech for a human down on his luck is up for interpretation.
  • Unpleasant scarecrow imagery is used to tie the descriptions in Ministry's "Scarecrow" together, such as "Arms outstretched for those who cannot see", "Crucified and left in isolation", and "Eyeless stares invite this whole damnation".

    Tabletop Games 
  • GURPS has a horror supplement called "Creatures of the Night" that introduces the Jackstraws. They are immobile creatures constructed of once-living material (straw, wood, cotton, etc.) who can use magic and become more intelligent the more human they look. They are pathological liars and therefore enemies of the untruth-allergic Tattlers, a sort of Snake People.
  • A Pathfinder module featured an encounter in a cornfield where ghoul-bitten villagers had been strung up as scarecrows by the ghouls to "ripen." When the party shows up, some "scarecrows" have turned, some are still human, and others are normal everyday scarecrows.
    • Scarecrows as monsters are included in the 1st Edition's Bestiary 2. They're basically just magically animated versions of standard scarecrows, but their touch fills victims with uncontrollable terror while their gaze hypnotizes others into standing in place while the scarecrow tears them apart.
  • Deadlands includes living scarecrows as monsters.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The scarecrow monster has been a recurrent creature throughout the game's editions, debuting in the 1st Edition Fiend Folio. Hags and other evil magic-users build them as guardians, binding evil spirits within ordinary scarecrows to bring them to life. The same spirits also grant scarecrows the ability to cause those who look into their eyes to become paralyzed with fear.
    • In Ravenloft, evil spirits sometimes animate the scarecrows of vengeful farmers. What makes these scarecrows especially scary are the curse they're carrying, making the player characters' flesh irresistible to insects.

    Video Games 
  • Harvestmen, Haunted Harvesters, Haunted Scarecrows are enemies found in Grim Dawn at the Rotting Croplands, the Gruesome Harvest, and the Conflagration. They are armed with Wolverine Claws and resistant to Sleep and Fear. There are also four Hero versions that may show up to make life that much more difficult for the adventurer: Nemedian, Effigus, Asper, and Crowfiend. The latter two can summon ravens while Effigus can summon the insectoid Infestor.
  • In Pineview Drive, there is a creepy scarecrow in the back garden of the property. During the later parts of the game it moves around the estate. A dlc update added a Slender-style game with the scarecrow hunting you.
  • Scarecrows are late game enemies in Izuna. Considering that they can cut your earned XP in half at will, they are scary indeed.
  • Somewhere between scarecrows and pumpkin people are the Fir Bolg in City of Heroes. They inhabit the Croatoa area among all kinds of supernatural nastiness and appear everywhere else for the annual Halloween event.
  • The Castlevania series has scarecrows high in the gruesome scale: they're hopping pikes with impaled corpses.
  • In Devil May Cry 4, scarecrows animated by the swarms of demonic insects inside them serve as the game's Goombas.
  • Evil scarecrows inhabit the Scarecrow Fields in MediEvil. They're among the hardest enemies to kill courtesy of their vicious Spin Attack. They also have the ability to release a small murder of crows from their coats that will gang up on the target. In fact, the recommended method to deal with the scarecrows and their unsettling Evil Laugh is to run faster.
  • In World of Warcraft, there are several murderous scarecrows in the farmland area in Westfall, as well as in Northrend, though the latter aren't dangerous, they are just crop harvesters. You do reprogram them to fight off The Undead though. There is also a scarecrow boss in one encounter based off The Wizard of Oz, along with bosses based on the other characters.
  • The champion Fiddlesticks from League of Legends has several different legends doing the rounds about him, earning him titles such as "Harbinger of Doom" and "The Ancient Evil", but in any case the conclusion is that he is a sackcloth and scrap metal demon that embodies fear itself. He is a Voice Changeling that can perfectly mimic the last words of his victims. In-game, his skills include getting a lantern out and standing in a T-pose pretending to be a regular scarecrow effigy, sending forth magic damage dealing crows, passively affecting people with Dread, and slashing about with a scythe.
  • One of the spirits in Ghost Master is the ghost of a murder of crows that take the form of a talking scarecrow.
  • Among the apparitions created by Alma in F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate are the scarecrows. They appear as upper torsos with lean arms ending in Wolverine Claws and a cloth-like face set in a Ghostly Gape with a skewered mouth. They may have legs, but those are never seen because scarecrows reside in black pools from which they emerge only to drag victims into. Steve Chen is killed by the first scarecrow encountered.
  • AdventureQuest has the Hayu and Skrow enemies. A Hayu is a magically animated scarecrow, while the Skrow combines a normal scarecrow with undead elements.
  • These are a type of enemy in Wizard 101. It turns out that these are just lesser copies of the original, The Lord of Night, The King of Dread, The Herald of Death. He is summoned for one of the most powerful death spells.
  • A common monster in the Shantae series. In the first game, they would suddenly ambush your character while she walks past a corn field. In the sequels, they gain variations that breath out poison mist or throw pumpkin bombs.
  • The Secret World features numerous scarecrows as enemies, although they usually look like tough humanoids with a burlap sack over their heads. Some of them hang on their posts but jump down and engage any character that comes too close.
  • There is an eerie scarecrow with a pulsating red light inside its eye socket at the entrance of the titular carnival in Mystery Case Files: Fate's Carnival. When the detective gives it a heart, it hisses at them and opens its mouth to reveal a mutoscope reel. The scarecrow is later burned when it is hit by lightning.
  • In Salt and Sanctuary, the player will encounter a strange scarecrow multiple times across the island making foreboding threats about the world kneeling before it, usually while next to a heaped pile of dead bodies. It eventually is revealed that the scarecrow is the avatar of the Nameless God, the Big Bad behind the horrific monstrosities on the island.
  • There's some in the cemetery in Vermillion Watch: Fleshbound. Not supernatural, though — the group using the supposedly-abandoned cemetery as a base of operations set them up to keep people away.
  • There's a scarecrow UMA in Little King's Story who commands the meloncholies. Its looks mirror those of the protagonist, Corobo, and fittingly the scarecrow is named Korobokle (Korobokkuru). This is emphasized foreshadowing, because Corobo's own name isn't similar to "korobokkuru" by accident. Korobokle is first encountered at the Melon Patch, where it looks like a bloody war has already been fought given all the uprooted and smashed melons lying about. If approached, Korobokle summons the meloncholies to protect him. Korobokle himself shoots a triple beam, but can't move and it's specifically the meloncholies that make the battle a tough one.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Hatoful Boyfriend, an exceptionally creepy scarecrow mecha with more than a passing resemblance to Pyramid Head shows up to terrorize the characters in the Bad Boys Love route. It's made even creepier when you take into account that said characters are birds, and then it's taken to new heights of creepy when it's revealed that the scarecrow's head contains the brain of the murdered heroine.

    Web Comics 
  • The Scarecrow in Goth Oz has black scleras, red irises, spiky orange hair, a scar on his face and Slasher Smile on top of him having no problem with his Lust Object being in range of the shotgun he's pointing at a talking tree.
  • Amira from Merchant Band was imprisoned in a cabin surrounded by straw doll scarecrows covered in curses. The curses made the scarecrows alive and capable of flight. Boss and his companions figured that out only when they already were at the cabin's door and, surrounded, could only find safety inside.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • One of the nastiest evils in Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers was a Forgotten Superweapon that took on the appearance of a scarecrow in the episode "Scarecrow". The Scarecrow murdered many and managed to brainwash half the Tarkonian court. Worse, the thing wasn't even killed when it was lit on fire! It just ran into the darkness — laughing.
  • Batman: The Animated Series kept changing their design for The Scarecrow; his initial appearance wasn't so scary at all, but he got progressively more ghoulish. Their final depiction of him doesn't look all that Scarecrow-y, but looks very much like a corpse, and has a broken noose around his neck. The noose was so popular that many subsequent versions of the Scarecrow have it, including the one played by Cillian Murphy in Batman Begins and the freaky gas-mask-faced Scarecrow of the Arkham Asylum game. Possibly a reference to The Sandman, where the first volume features a cameo by Dr. Crane, sans costume, pretending to hang himself in a attempt to scare the guards at Arkham.
  • The framing device of Curbside had Heckle and Jeckle trying to host their talk show while being cursed by a scarecrow left on their doorstep that eventually becomes gigantic and tries to eat them.
  • Lord Pumpkin was a part of the cast of the shortlived Ultra Force animated series.
  • A revenge-powered scarecrow was the Monster of the Week in "Night of the Scarecrow" of Martin Mystery. In the 18th century, his owners, the Fermiers, were forced from their farm and retaliated by using a talisman to curse the farm to not tolerate any owner but their descendants. The curse brought the scarecrow to life, which had Weather Manipulation and could drain the life of people, animals, and plants alike. In present times, the protagonists try to end the curse by destroying the talisman, but it fails. Plan B is to destroy the eviction deed so that the farm would default back to the Fermiers. To the scarecrow's horror, this ends the curse and thus him.
  • There is one in "Night of the Living Scarecrow", the pilot episode of Mona the Vampire. Played with and subverted in that the supposed scarecrow was actually the caretaker of the church, but then a second hat is discovered. This leaves the possibility that there really is a living scarecrow out and about.
  • A scarecrow is one of the forms inhabited by the eponymous villain in The New Adventures of Superman episode "The Mysterious Mr Mist".
  • In the Regular Show episode "Terror Tales of the Park III" (in the short "Jacked-Up Jack-o-Lantern"), Muscle Man tells a story in which he and his friends are chased by a pumpkin-headed scarecrow, who wants revenge after they killed his wife (also a pumpkin scarecrow).
  • Parodied in "Weekend at Burnsie's" of The Simpsons. Marge creates a pumpkin-headed scarecrow to get rid of a murder of crows attacking her garden. The scarecrow is scary enough that even Homer is terrified when he returns home that night. Thinking he's dealing with a real monster, Homer destroys it with a bat and subsequently becomes a god to the crows. This contrasts an earlier joke when Marge only had the cross-style post set up for the scarecrow to rest on. It attracted Flanders and his sons to come pray in her garden.
  • In Generator Rex, the villain John Scarecrow is a dangerous and sadistic shapeshifter EVO who specializes in Shapeshifter Guilt Trips, turning Rex and his friends against each other.
  • Camp Lakebottom: In "The Ghost in the Mower", the campers summon up a ghostly groundskeeper called the Grim Keeper to take care of their overgrown soccer field. The Grim Keeper manifests in the form of a scary scarecrow.
  • The Adventures of Puss in Boots: Puss tries to create a scarecrow in his own image as a means of scaring off thieves, but it ends up severely terrifying orphan Toby instead.
  • The Mighty Heroes episode "The Scarecrow" featured a scarecrow being brought to life after being struck by lightning and proceeding to terrorize everyone by creating an army of straw monsters.
  • Several incarnations of Scooby-Doo had the criminal Mystery, Inc. were presently facing disguising themselves as a sinister scarecrow.
    • The New Scooby-Doo Movies episode "The Frickert Fracas" had Simon Shakey disguise himself as a scarecrow to sneak around Maude Fracket's farm and steal a secret formula.
    • The What's New, Scooby-Doo? episode "A Scooby-Doo Halloween" had Velma Dinkley's cousin Marcy try to ruin Halloween by terrorizing everyone with an army of scarecrow robots.
    • The half-hour Halloween special Scooby-Doo! and the Spooky Scarecrow had the gang visit a town called Cobb Corner to attend the Halloween festival before having to deal with a fearsome scarecrow named Cornfield Clem.
    • In the Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! episode "Eating Crow", two rival farmers antagonized each other while disguised as living scarecrows.


On the other hand, there are counter-examples. In Japan, for instance, Scarecrows are not considered frightening and thus benevolent scarecrows frequently appear.

Inversions:

    Anime and Manga 
  • Howl's Moving Castle. Sophie is a little edgy of the scarecrow at first. She's certain he's magical in some way and she's already had bad experiences with magic. By the end the scarecrow has becomes a member of the True Companions and turns out to be an enchanted Prince. Sophie's kiss breaks the spell, and he's able to go back home so he can help finish the war.
  • Naruto has Team Seven's sensei, Kakashi, whose name means "scarecrow".
  • One appears in The Nightmare Before Christmas: Zero's Journey. Jack asks them if they've seen Zero and gets a shrug in response.
  • The Black Magician of the Forest is a fairy tale book owned by Ruka in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's. When she is taken over by the Duel Dragon's miasma, she lives out the book's story. She takes the role of the Old Lady and envisions Rua as the Broken Scarecrow who, through team work, outwit and defeat an evil wizard. In return for mercy, the wizard tells the scarecrow to bathe in sunrise's sunlight to become the human prince he used to be once more. Thereafter, the former scarecrow hugs the old lady to undo the curse of old age she had upon herself, leading to a Happily Ever After.

    Card Games 
  • Swift Scarecrow is a machine-type card in Yu-Gi-Oh!. It's effectively a robot scarecrow.

    Comic Books 
  • The Straw Man by Marvel Comics is an extra–dimensional demonic being that protects Earth from other demonic beings. He normally lives in his own dimension but can manifest here through a painting. His main adversary is Kalumai, whose plots he has foiled many times. He was also one of the seven Fear Lords for a time, but he betrayed them to Daredevil and Doctor Strange when his co-demons sought to subjugate humanity through fear. During this time, he took on a human disguise as the host of "Horror TV" cable network. His chosen name was Skirra Corvus, "Skirra" being Old Norse for "Scare" and "Corvus" being Latin for "Crow".
  • In the Bizu story "Le chevalier Potage", the titular Potage Knight is half scarecrow and half snowman. His mother, the scarecrow, sought shelter with a snowman one harsh winter and the two fell in love during that time. However, come spring and the snowman melted away. The scarecrow raised her son, who didn't have his father's Achilles' Heel, alone, and he grew up to be an honorable man.
  • X-Mickey has an interdimensional sorcerer named Mow that is capable of bringing puppets to life. Three centuries ago, he enchanted the scarecrows from Gothic Hill to be his minions, but was defeated and trapped in another dimension afterwards. The scarecrows disappeared as well, so when Mow returns to Earth in the present he tries to make replacements. Mickey destroys his staff before the new scarecrows reach the quality of the old. As it turns out, Mow's original scarecrows had gone into hiding as the new population of Gothic Hill. They're happy that Mow's been defeated once more.
  • In "The Scarecrow Walks!", published in Strange Tales #81, the elderly Smiths are evicted from their farm so the mortgage holder can sell it to the government for nuclear testing. With nowhere to go, they have to leave behind their beloved scarecrow. It is thus in harm's way when the nuclear testing occurs, which not only brings it to life but also makes it several stories tall. It seeks out the man who evicted the Smiths to claim the money, which is readily handed over to the giant scarecrow. It then tracks its former masters, growing smaller as the days pass, until it locates them and leaves them the money while they sleep. It then follows them to their new farm, where it happily loses the last of its life.

    Films — Animation 

    Literature 
  • The scarecrow from Howl's Moving Castle is scary, but ends up not actually being evil.
  • The Uncanny Valley aspect is mentioned in Nanny Ogg's Cookbook from the Discworld series. "Unlucky Charlie" is a once-ordinary scarecrow formerly used for target practice by witches in the Lancre Witch Trials. It absorbed so much magic that Charlie now appears and disappears all across the kingdom, though no-one ever sees him move. He's not malevolent, but does demand privacy and respect. Give him those and your harvest will be excellent even if you've not planted anything.
  • The unfortunate protagonist of "Feathertop" is a scarecrow made and brought to life by the witch Mother Rigby. He was meant to be a normal scarecrow, but Rigby likes her creation so much that she gives him her Hell-powered pipe to make him alive and look human. She also gives him a magic cane that is to lead him wherever he needs to go and, for her own sense of accomplishment, sends him out to woo Polly Gookin. Feathertop and Polly fancy each other, but the dream falls apart when Feathertop's reflection reveals his true scarecrow self. Distraught, Feathertop returns home and throws away the pipe to end himself. Mother Rigby respects his choice and puts him in her garden as he was meant to.
  • Oz series:
  • Maria Gripe's Pappa Pellerin's Daughter features an orphan girl named Loella who seeks emotional support from an old (and non-living) scarecrow, the aforementioned "Pappa Pellerin" as she goes through her Coming-of-Age Story.
  • The title character of Worzel Gummidge is a scarecrow and happily married to another scarecrow named Earthy Mangold. They live on Scatterbrook Farm and were made by a mysterious man through unknown means. The premise of the books is Worzel's friendship with the human children John and Susan, who came by during the school holidays. Only they know that Worzel is alive, so if he causes trouble, they get the blame. The rest of Worzel's friends are constructs like him, such as his Aunt Sally, a fairground doll, and the Living Figurehead Saucy Nancy.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Round the Twist episode "Know All" is an adaptation of the short story "Know All" by Paul Jennings. It features scarecrows in two ways:
    • The Twists find a chest filled with costumes, which only much later they learn are from a circus of which all members have perished in an accident. Intrigued by the find, they each dress up and find themselves bestowed with the talents and characteristics of the original owners. For fun, they dress up their scarecrow in a clown's outfit. This causes it to come alive and, being empty beforehand, to strongly take to the love the clown had for the other clown, who wore the costume Linda is wearing. She feels terrorized until her family gets her to take off the costume. The scarecrow is heartbroken, but Tony, who'd been the Fortune Teller, already arranged for a mannequin to be available to dress up instead. She comes alive too and happily reunites with her love. As both the scarecrow and the mannequin steadily become human-like due to the costumes, they decide to join the circus.
    • A subplot involves some Americans trying to acquire the lighthouse. They witness the madly laughing scarecrow and are too frightened to force the Twists out. Harold wants to sell them some farmland instead, but as there's a (regular) scarecrow present, the terrified buyers leave mid-sales pitch.

    Music 
  • "Black Crow King" by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds' is sung from the perspective of the Black Crow King, the "keeper of the nodding corn" until the townsfolk come to the fields and make him the "keeper of the trodden corn". As the weather turns bad and both humans and crows retreat, the Black Crow King is left the "keeper of the forgotten corn".
  • Three gyrating scarecrows bound to their cross-style post play a role in the surreal music video for "Blackstar" by David Bowie. The music video is meant to be left to interpretation, but the director has clarified that any messianic symbolism is not intentional.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Changeling: The Lost features the Scarecrow Ministry, a noble order of the Autumn Court that creates (or reinforces) urban legends so that mortals stay away from the places where the really bad stuff goes down. As part of their membership, they receive masks that can instill phobias in those who look at them.

    Video Games 
  • Birdy from Conker's Bad Fur Day shows up in Hungover and at Poo Mountain as the tutorial guide. He's a heavy drinker, not unlike Conker.
  • Nohemon from Digimon is a Puppet Digimon. At first glance, it resembles a William Tell-inspired scarecrow with a plush crow on its right arm, but the crow actually is its true form. It's name is a reference to the henohenomoheji face.
  • Scarecrows are monster-type demons in Disgaea. Like all demons, they can be both good and evil, and work both for your party or against it.
  • Played for laughs in The Elder Scrolls Online's Clockwork City DLC. In one of the quests, you team up with some talking crows who charge you with defeating a terrifying creature called "The Motionless Guardian".... which ends up being a not-scary-at-all scarecrow that you simply knock over.
  • Folklore for the PlayStation 3 has a half-life (a sort of imaginary friend/spirit) named Scarecrow who accompanies the heroine, Ellen on her journey through the Netherworld. He's rather whimsical and charming that is until it turns out that he's been using Ellen to get him to the Netherworld core so he could absorb all of humanities sorrow; though it was only to fulfill the wish Ellen made as a child, that is to create a world without fear or hatred.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask both feature benevolent dancing scarecrows.
  • In the chapter "Frozen Cliffs" of Nihilumbra, the Void-born blob Born comes across a scarecrow. Eager for a place in the world, Born takes on its shape and maintains it for the rest of the story.
  • Pokémon has Cacturne, a scarecrow-like cactus creature which lives for thousands of years, has sand for blood, and eats humans.
  • Toonstruck features a friendly "carecrow" who, as per its name, takes care of the birds instead of scaring them away. He does, however, transform into your usual scary scarecrow when Nefarious' Malevolator zaps him.
  • Kakashi the Scarecrow is one of Tingle's companions in Ripened Tingle's Balloon Trip of Love. Based on the Scarecrow of Oz fame, he's not too bright and on the lookout for intelligence. As the smallest of Tingle's crew, he fits into small spaces.

    Web Animation 
  • In "Bad Scare Day" of Monster High, a scarecrow student with a sack head gets the staples across his mouth ripped out by Frankie's magnetic field. This is his only appearance.
  • The titular Nomad in Nomad of Nowhere is a benevolent animated scarecrow who was created to protect a young witch on the run. He can bring non-animated objects to life and while he doesn't like hurting people, his magic can have destructive side effects and when pushed too far, can be as terrifying as the rumors around him make him out to be.

    Webcomics 
  • In Solstoria a friendly scarecrow is a farm spirit that was made by the main character.

    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): Scary Scarecrow

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