by Tiffany Hyman
Bobby "Boris" Pickett created "The Monster Mash"; Michael Jackson created "Thriller"; and Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce created the "scarecrow."
Halloween lovers, fanatics and fiends, beware! The Niagara River Region is being taken over by scarecrows - that is, unique displays created by imaginative residents and businesses.
"The scarecrow displays help promote organizations and businesses in a creative way. It's a good way to 'think outside the box,' " said Jennifer Pauly, president of the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce. "It really adds to the look of the towns and villages."
The event, running from Oct. 1 to 31, will create a fun, thrilling and maybe even spooky atmosphere for residents and visitors. The displays range from traditional - the loving, yet brainless, scarecrow from the "Wizard of Oz" - to non-traditional - a frightening Freddy Kreuger from "Nightmare on Elm Street."
Speaking of non-traditional, a Lewiston business owner became "mad," and created the exceptional "Mad Hatter" tea party display, inspired by "Alice in Wonderland." The hand-made display was created by Jeannine Piper, owner of Pipers' Village Inn on South Fifth Street in the Village of Lewiston.
Piper explains how she came up with the original idea, "Piper in Wonderland," that won the 2010 "Best in Show" scarecrow award.
"Since Pipers' includes bed and breakfast and a tearoom, I wanted to create a hippie kind of theme with teacups," she said. "I hand-painted the teacups. I made the tablecloth out of a haystack and a tie-dyed shirt. I went to the Goodwill store and bought a pea coat, then made the hat out of cardboard and fabric."
"Jeannine had such a great display last year," Pauly said. "Everything was carefully hand-made. She spent a lot of time on it."
Judging will take place from Oct. 11 to 15. The "Best in Show" prize is awarded based on creativity, originality and quality of workmanship. Second- and third-place prizes also will be awarded.
"There will be some pretty stiff competition this year," said Pauly. "People come up with really creative ideas."
Among those competing for the best scarecrow title is Piper. Be sure to look for her "sleepy" and "chilling" display, guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser.
"It was fun and exciting to do," Piper said. "I just threw the idea out there and went with it. It's a big, long process, but a creative venue."
In addition to the scarecrow display and contest, be sure to look for exciting upcoming events throughout Niagara County, including visiting the corn maze, haunted historic castle, hay wagon and the "Marble Orchard: Ghost Walk" show.
"It's just a fun time," Pauly said. "It's a great way to show the creativity in Youngstown, Lewiston, Ransomville and Sanborn. Whether it's just a weekend trip, it helps to bring people in. It's open to everyone."
The scarecrow displays can be found on:
For more information on the display, entry forms or other upcoming events, call the chamber at 754-9500 or visit http://www.niagarariverregion.com/index.shtml.