Friday, October 28, 2011

The Hairy Hand of Fuller Lake

One of my favorite Halloween traditions is carving pumpkins at my grandparents' cabin. We carve on the rickety picnic table outside, throwing the guts right on the ground. Then we carry them through the woods in the dusk, pausing at the end of the path to light the candles. On the beach of the tiny lake, a crowd gathers before a three-tiered float. Park rangers place the pumpkin offerings gently onto it. And then the story starts--an old, folksy rendition of the local legend of the Hairy Hand of Fuller Lake. Legend goes that miners hit a natural spring in the ore pit, which promptly flooded to create the lake. One heavily-bearded, foolish miner went back for the lunch pail containing his wife's prized pumpkin pie and met his grisly end. Now every Halloween (or a conveniently-closely-timed weekend) the Hairy Hand rises up from the lake, desperate for pumpkin! And at the end of the story, a giant green hand rises from the opposite shore, and the crowd on the beach shouts, "Go away, Hairy Hand!" until it sinks again.

This story used to be super-scary when I was a kid. Now it's kind of hilarious. And I discovered that after taking a few years off, my pumpkin-carving skills are a little rusty. My sister and her fiance rocked it though (see the evidence below: Rob and his fauxhawk pumpkin; Amber's Angry Birds pumpkin).

Ready for their offering to the Hairy Hand: my owl, my husband's Pac-Man, Rob's fauxhawk, Amber's pig from Angry Birds.

Did you carve a pumpkin this year? Tell me about it! Or if you're doing it last-minute and need ideas, YA Highway has some YA-lit patterns here.

Jessica Spotswood is the author of BORN WICKED, the first book in the Cahill Witch Chronicles, coming Feb. 7, 2012 from Putnam. She likes reading stories about independent girls who still get in a fair amount of swoony kissing, so that's what she tries to write. She lives in Washington, DC with her playwright husband and a cuddly cat named Monkey.

Currently on her nightstand: the totally charming, delightful REMARKABLE by Lizzie K. Foley.


  1. my linus in the pumpkin patch was unworthy of the blog? ouch.

  2. Ha, I stole the pictures from Amber, blame her!

  3. I just hosted a little pumpkin-carving party yesterday! I carved a witch stirring a cauldron. It came out pretty good. In past years I've done a complicated pattern of wolves howling at the moon and it's amazing! I had to reign myself in a bit this year. I love the Hairy Hand story. I'd probably risk death for a good piece of pumpkin pie, too!