Midlothian is scaring-up entries for the fifth Annual Scarecrow Festival and Contest and now is the time to make plans to participate.

The Midlothian Chamber of Commerce’s big fall festival will be Oct. 20 but the scarecrow contest kicks off Oct. 5 and local businesses, organizations and homeowners are urged to get in on the fun and create their own special scarecrow and prop it up out front.

“The Scarecrow Festival took off when we started six years ago and we’ve tried to add a little something extra each year,” said Mary Rustin, who is coordinating the event for the Chamber. “Our goal is to make this a month-long series of events for Midlothian.”

The theme for this year’s Scarecrow Festival is “Movie Character” with the community asked to create a scarecrow based on a movie character

“The whole idea is to dress up the community this fall,” said Rustin. “We hope neighborhoods will do this together as well as local businesses, civic clubs, churches and community organizations. We want to offer more of a harvest or fall festival atmosphere around town than anything else.”

While the festival and competition is open to the public, the Chamber is also enlisting the help of businesses and clubs to pre-register as a commitment to the fun and to get the ball rolling.

As with past Scarecrow Festivals, a People’s Choice Award will be handed out at Fall Festival.

The Scarecrow Festival started six years ago with the intent of getting away from the more satanic side of Halloween and celebrating Autumn’s harvest.

Rustin said she got the idea after she visited a community in Pennsylvania that has been doing this for years.

For the past five years Heritage Park has been filled with scarecrows. The scarecrows draw both walkers and shoppers to downtown to view the scarecrow patch.

“We have a pamphlet that explains all this and we hope people will drop by the Chamber and pick one up,” said Amanda Miller, Executive Director of the Midlothian Chamber of Commerce. “The contest does have rules and we want people to register and learn how to vote for their favorite scarecrow.”

There is a $10 entry fee to compete in the downtown scarecrow competition. Cash prizes are awarded for First, Second and Third place winners in each category

Scarecrows must be picked up on Nov. 1 in preparation for the Thanksgiving Holiday season.

For details or entry forms call the Midlothian Chamber of Commerce at (972) 723-8600.