KENT —The Kent Center School PTO is encouraging townspeople to get creative in the spirit of the autumn season.

The PTO is holding its first scarecrow competition.

“Halloween is different this year,” KCS PTO President Heather Strid said. “This gives kids and families an opportunity to participate in a fun event while following socially distant guidelines.”

The townwide event is open to the public, but registration is required.

“People are always decorating with pumpkins and so we thought scarecrows would be a good way to get the whole community involved,” Strid said.

Participants are invited to gather materials — straw, overalls, a hat and whatever else participants need — and create a festive scarecrow.

Resident Bronwyn Hamill saw her kids “were excited” about the contest and enjoyed picking out the outfit for the scarecrow at the local hardware store.

“It was a family project,” Hamill said. “We spent one morning building it.”

Three judges will select the winners Nov. 8, and four prizes will be awarded in the categories of scariest, funniest, most school spirit and best overall.

There is a $10 entry fee.

Photographs of the scarecrows should be submitted to the KCS PTO by Nov. 1 by emailing kcspto@gmail.com.

Photographs will be posted to the KCS PTO Facebook page.

Fife ’n Drum Restaurant & Inn, Kent Pizza Garden & Restaurant and the KCS PTO are providing the prizes.

Strid said when the coronavirus struck this past spring, many of the traditional events had to be canceled. Among them, a color fun run and an in-person book fair.

“With the magnitude of the pandemic, people getting sick and losing their jobs, we completely laid low for the remainder of the school year,” she said.

She acknowledged “things are still so crazy and up in the air,” but an event such as the scarecrow contest seemed a fitting way to lift spirits and still play an active role in the community.