6 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘Home Alone’

Home Alone is the franchise that allowed Macaulay Culkin to shine and had kids all over the world wanting to be as clever as Kevin McCallister. What little kid didn’t want to pretend they were grown by eating ice cream for dinner, watching anything on TV, and roaming around the house freely without any supervision? Although the sequels featured the same level of hijinks as the original, the first two films will forever be everyone’s favorites to quote, impersonate, and meme.

But how did the team behind Home Alone make all those crazy shots happen? Some of those scenes look playfully easy, some look cool, and others downright dangerous. Here’s an idea of how the cast and crew of Home Alone made it all happen.

Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern in 'Home Alone'
Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern in ‘Home Alone’ | The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

Some of the film was shot in a high school

Technology wasn’t where it is today back in the ‘90s, so extra work was involved to construct sets to achieve the desired effect. Director Chris Columbus once told Entertainment Weekly it was necessary to film at neighbors’ houses and a local high school in Winnetka, Illinois.

“That house across the street, we just used the exterior and we built the basement of that house and the kitchen in a high school. We built the basement in the swimming pool because we were able to flood it.”

When Kevin decided to flood the house, no parts of the fancy mansion were harmed because it all took place in the school’s high school. The McCallister home is perfectly intact and is now a tourist attraction in Chicago area.

That gangster flick is an original

The black and white movie Kevin is watching isn’t real. Angels With Filthy Souls was created specifically for the movie with the dialogue and gunshots that scared the pizza delivery guy and the burglars. For Home Alone 2, Columbus created Angels With Filthier Souls from scratch to repeat the magic, and even cast new actors.

Culkin was obviously too young to do stunts

The stunt double for Macaulay Culkin was a 30-year-old adult man named Larry Nicholas. That’s right. Per Gizmodo, the person who slid down the staircase on the toboggan and flew on the zipline was Nicholas, who was about the same size as 9-year-old Culkin.

Kevin’s unforgettable aftershave scene was improvised

It’s the one part of the movie that everyone knows: Kevin slaps aftershave onto his cheeks and his hands are glued to them like they’re on fire. Columbus shared that the scene wasn’t written that way and Culkin just did that on his own, proving why he was the perfect kid for the job.

Painful boobytraps were faked—for the most part

Joe Pesci’s head getting blowtorched was rigged. It was shot using a mannequin with Pesci’s face superimposed on it later, and a mirror was used to create that effect.

When Daniel Stern’s Marv walked barefoot through snow, he was wearing rubber prosthetic feet. However, those were his real feet stepping through the window onto candy—not glass—ornaments inside the house. What was real? The spider that Kevin grabbed off the staircase and stuck on his face. His reaction was priceless.

A legit phone number was shared

In Home Alone 2, Kevin dialed a phone number for the Plaza Hotel using a pay phone. It’s the hotel’s real number and they agreed to its use in the film, deviating from Hollywood’s standard practice of made-up phone numbers. Those who picked up on it and called actually reached the hotel, and it’s said business increased after the movie’s release.