Jodi Hume thought “Freddie” was dead.
And to drivers passing by his figure on the side of West Joppa Road, it would appear that way.
Face-down, legs twisted and body lifeless, “Freddie” has been lying on the edge of the road for the better part of October. But stuffed with construction debris and positioned with rebar, there was never any life in the dummy, part of a Towson home’s Halloween display.
It’s about this time each year that the dummy makes an appearance in Tim Leuba’s front yard. This month the scarecrow has been duping drivers like Hume who have slammed on their brakes and doubled back to make sure the figure wasn’t an actual human.
Leuba, 55, said he has had Freddie for years. He often positions the dummy in his yard around Halloween, spoofing passersby during the season of tricks and treats.
“I used to put him out with a big road sign that said, ‘Slow down or rest in peace,’” Leuba said.
This year, Freddie is accompanied only by a small mock tombstone. He’s dressed in a neon vest, work boots and camouflage pants, with a helmet askew on his mess of brown hair. The getup is a nod to work crews down the street, Leuba said.
Freddie’s position next to the road, rather than in the middle of a yard, makes his presence that much more realistic, said Hume. The Towson resident said she turned her car around after her 16-year-old son spotted the dummy as they were driving home.
“Ultimately we thought it was funny,” Hume said. “We really thought it was a dead guy.”
It’s not the first time Freddie has gotten the best of drivers in the area; in years past, some concerned neighbors have called the police, Leuba said. But no cops have shown up at Leuba’s door yet this year, and most of his friends and family get a kick out of Freddie.
“Everybody’s complimented anytime everyone’s said anything,” he said.