Trail of Scarecrows

Back by popular demand! This annual competition is for groups in kindergarten through 5th grade.

Trail of Scarecrows is pictured.

How It Works

Children choose a book based on the year’s theme. As a class/group/family, they build a scarecrow and write an essay based on the chosen story or its characters. Scarecrows are then displayed outdoors at the arboretum throughout the month of October. Guests will vote on their favorite scarecrow via social media and the top three winners will receive a prize.

2021 Theme

Everyday Heroes

How Can My Group Participate?

Review the guidelines below and fill out the registration form

Important Dates

  • Registration due Friday, September 17 (Registration must be received prior to scarecrow drop off).
  • Drop off completed scarecrows on Friday, September 24 between 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Drop off scarecrows at the Depot Visitors Center (450 W 100 N, Valparaiso, IN).
  • Scarecrows will be displayed from Friday, October 1 through Saturday, October 30.
  • Virtual Award Ceremony will be held on Saturday, October 30. Details about this ceremony will be emailed to the email listed on the registration form in October.
  • Scarecrow pick-up is Sunday, October 31 through Friday, November 5 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Scarecrows not picked up by November 5 will be discarded. Consider pick up a recycling opportunity. Remember, your scarecrow will not be in great shape after a month in the arboretum and tear down.
  • Any K-5 school class, K-5 group, or family is welcome to participate. Entries must be original and not pre-made.
  • Each entry must include a book title, scarecrow, scarecrow name and essay about the scarecrow.
  • Steel posts will be provided by the arboretum and will be capable of supporting the scarecrow in a freestanding or seated manner. All scarecrow submissions must be backed by a 2×4 piece of wood to attach the base. Scarecrow base will not exceed 3.5 ft in width or length. Height is limited to 6 ft tall.
  • Three top winners will be chosen by popular vote from the public. Pictures of the scarecrow will be posted on Facebook and likes will count as votes.
  • Gabis Arboretum reserves the right to remove any scarecrow that deteriorates to an unacceptable level during the month. Please make your submission as weather-proof and indestructible as possible!
  • Gabis Arboretum is not responsible for loss or damage to scarecrows while on display or in the drop-off/pick-up areas. Please do not use valuable materials/objects as the scarecrows will not be monitored.
  • Gabis Arboretum will provide identifying signage for your scarecrow and install all scarecrows.
  • Do not include live plant material, mulch, Tiki torches, flammable objects or gas/electric powered generators with your entries.
  • No handouts, promotional material or free giveaways can be associated with your entry.
  • Gabis Arboretum reserves the right to use photographs, school names, contact names and scarecrow names for publicity purposes.
  • Entries must be suited for viewing by small children. Entries that are controversial, commercial, political or graphic (sexual/gory/scary) in nature will not be accepted.