Scarecrow festivals are held all over the world, but they are especially popular in the United Kingdom, where the use of scarecrows as a protector of crops date from time immemorial. In medieval Britain, scarecrows were young boys who were tasked with the responsibility of scarring away birds.
When the Great Plague of of 1348 wiped half the population in Britain, landowners couldn't find enough young boys to employ as bird scarers to protect their crops. So they stuffed sacks with straw, carved faces in turnips or gourds, and made scarecrows that stood against poles. Bird scarers continued to patrol British fields until the early 1800s when new factories and mines opened up and offered children better paying jobs.