Scarecrows stuffed with lighthearted allusions

Event preview

Scarecrows in the Garden

Through Oct. 31. 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays (until 10 p.m. Thursdays). $18.95; $12.95, ages 3-12; free, under 3. 1345 Piedmont Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-876-5859,

Related activities

Fest-of-Ale, 5-10 p.m. Thursdays. Enjoy seasonal brews and music, and explore the scarecrow-dotted woods with a flashlight.

Children’s Fall Crafts, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekends.

Arts & Ales, 5-10 p.m. Oct. 18. A fall artist’s market, plus brews.

7 p.m. Oct. 25: Great Chefs Pumpkin Carving Contest. Contestants wield sharp objects for 25 minutes, then audience applause determines the winner.

10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 28: Goblins in the Garden. Kids can wear costumes to enjoy pumpkin carving and other Halloween diversions.

In “The Wizard of Oz,” Scarecrow sings about all the brilliant ideas he’d be busy hatchin’ if he only had a brain. Well, clearly serious cerebral labor, along with no shortage of cheek, went into creating Scarecrows in the Garden, the just-opened, 11th annual Halloween display at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

While it’s not exactly “Meet the Press,” Scarecrows often is topical, filled with pop culture references and laced with enjoyably bad puns.

Highlights of the 117 displays — hand-crafted by businesses, organizations, schools and individuals — that have sprouted up along the winding paths of the Southern Seasons and Children’s gardens include:

  • "Something Wicked This Way Comes," a Georgia Shakespeare creation in which masks of President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney float in a boiling cauldron along with sundry body parts, all stirred by a three-headed monster. The candidates are in hot water and, the title suggests, so are we.
  • "Fifty Shades of Hay," in which a reclining, pajamas-clad woman wearing a shocked expression devours the spicy best-seller while a trio of crows also try to read it over her shoulder. Designed by Donna Barwick and Athalie White.
  • "Scare Package," a "Ded Ex" crate stuffed with ghoulish goodies including Kellogg's Lice Krispies and Croak-a-Cola, from Hot Sauce Studios.
  • Zoo Atlanta's "Panda Crow," a big black-and-white beast in a tattered suit, surrounded by bamboo stalks shriveled like corn.
  • "King of the World," depicting that classic edge-of-the-deck Leo DiCaprio-Kate Winslet movie embrace, from the presenters of "Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit" at Atlantic Station.
  • "Scare-let Crow 'Hara," which morphs the curtains-costumed "Gone With the Wind" heroine while encouraging TB's elimination. As the accompanying gravestone notes, the disease took the life of star Vivien Leigh in 1967. This one is credited to the Tuberculosis Elimination Team.
  • "Buzzy," an oversize bee from Metro Atlanta Beekeepers, carrying a shopping bag inscribed with the name Honey Boo Boo, referring to the hot reality TV show.
  • "Mother Earth," one of the best of the many nature-themed scarecrows, with a skirt of blooms, a belly shaped like a globe and a tree growing out of her head. It's by Skyland Trail.