Improve Your “Fowl” Mood with Hand Turkeys!

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Erica Fitch, Art Director

There’s a chill in the air. Leaves continue to turn bright orange or red before falling to the ground. Collected Halloween candy sits in a bowl, waiting for someone to reach in and take a piece. It’s finally November, and even as Christmas songs start playing on the radio, it is important to remember that there is another holiday before the winter.

It’s Thanksgiving – aka Turkey Day!

Even though turkeys were not eaten at the very first Thanksgiving, they have become a staple for traditional Thanksgiving dinners. In fact, studies have shown that 88% of Americans reported eating turkey for their Thanksgiving meals (“Turkey Facts”). Along with cornucopias and football, turkeys are a cherished symbol of the autumn holiday celebrated throughout the United States.

From the time American children started saying the word “Thanksgiving”, they have learned how to show their holiday spirit by drawing hand turkeys. The art of the hand turkey is very simple: one traces their hand and then makes it look like a turkey. By adding eyes, a beak, feathers, legs, and a snood (the red flap hanging from a turkey’s beak), a simple hand sketch transforms into a feathered friend! Anyone can draw a basic hand turkey, yet there are many ways to make your turkey unique and take it to the next level.

A hand turkey can be composed of many different colors. Most people go for a traditional brown; however, this isn’t the only color you have to use. You can color your turkey any color you’d like! You could make it a mix of red, orange, and yellow to represent autumn. You could even color it your favorite color, such as blue or green.

A hand turkey’s body parts do not have to all be the same. A common hand turkey has small eyes, a small yellow beak, a red snood, and skinny legs. You can add emotion to your turkey by changing the size of these parts. Want a shocked turkey? Make the eyes wide and open the beak. A buff turkey that just came from the gym? Make the legs thicker and add arms with large biceps. You can even give the turkey arms instead of feathers. It’s your turkey!

To add character to your turkey, you can accessorize it. To fit the traditional Thanksgiving theme, you can add a pilgrim hat and a scarf around its neck. You can make it a football player with a helmet, cleats, and ball held by its feathers. Ready for Christmas already? Add a Santa hat. By adding hats, shoes, and other objects, anyone can make a cute hand turkey unique to you this Thanksgiving!

Works Cited
Lindholm, Erin. “A Short But Succinct Survey Of The Current Hand Turkey Stratosphere”. Hyperallergic,
2011, https://hyperallergic.com/41424/short-succinct-survey-of-hand-turkey/. Accessed 7 Nov 2021.
“Turkey Facts – Turkey For Holidays – University Of Illinois Extension”. Web.Extension.Illinois.Edu,
https://web.extension.illinois.edu/turkey/turkey_facts.cfm. Accessed 6 Nov 2021.
We Love Puns. “59 Turkey Puns That Will Improve Your Fowl Mood – We Love Puns”. We Love Puns,
2020, https://www.welovepuns.com/best-turkey-puns/. Accessed 7 Nov 2021.