If Hollywood and old Christmas carols are to be believed, children staying home alone usually encounter fat men in red suits or pairs of bumbling, incompetent burglars. A 12-year-old California girl found herself facing a Joe Pesci-sized invader, but he was of the ursine variety.

From this story in the New York Daily News:
_A 12-year-old girl who was home alone came face to face with a hungry bear that had broken into her family’s California home Wednesday. Kara Jackson was home sick from school when she heard strange noises downstairs in her family’s rural Forest Falls home about 2:30 p.m. She went downstairs – and was shocked at what she saw. “My stomach just, like, dropped. It was crazy,” Kara, who is just 4-feet-8 and 70 pounds, told The Daily News. “When I saw his back, I clapped three times as loud as I could and then ran back upstairs and locked myself in my room. I knew that bears don’t like loud noises, so I made the loudest noise I could think of right at that second.”
__The bear had lumbered into the kitchen after ripping off a screen door, her father said.

He said the bear weighed about 150 pounds and looked like a cub they’d seen around their property before. He spared its life after the frightening incident, estimating the bear remained inside the house for less than a minute after Kara started clapping. “The Fish and Game officials asked me if I wanted the bear killed. They had him up a tree and wanted me to make the call,” he said. “As long as a bear sees a person and runs, to me that’s not a threatening bear.” He said the only damages were the busted screen door, items the beast knocked off a counter and a trail of muddy paw-prints it left behind._