‘The Parent Trap’: Why the Ear Piercing Scene Got Cut From Movie’s U.K. Version and Disney Channel Broadcasts

On the 22nd anniversary of The Parent Trap, we’re looking back at Lindsay Lohan’s first movie. Keep reading to learn why the family film’s famous ear-piercing scene got cut from the U.K. version and Disney Channel broadcasts after it hit theaters on July 20, 1998. 

‘The Parent Trap’ is a remake of a 1961 Disney movie

Kids who grew up in the late 1990s watching Lohan play Annie James and Hallie Parker in The Parent Trap weren’t the first to witness the characters’ antics. The movie starring Dennis Quaid, Natasha Richardson, and Lohan is actually based on an earlier Disney movie of the same name. 

Hayley Mills in 'The Parent Trap', 1961
Hayley Mills in ‘The Parent Trap’, 1961 | Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

The original Parent Trap debuted in 1961, according to IMDb. It starred actor Hayley Mills as twin sisters who swap places in the same scheme Lohan’s characters would become known for years later. 

Hallie famously pierces Annie’s ears at camp in ‘The Parent Trap’

Anyone who has ever watched the 1998 version of The Parent Trap knows all about the ear-piercing scene. Despising each other, Hallie and Annie are forced to spend the duration of their camp stay together in the dreaded Isolation Cabin. Soon, they discover more than just a shared love of Oreos and peanut butter; they share DNA and are long lost twins.

From there, Hallie and Annie hatch a plan to swap places when camp is over to get to spend time with their parents. The end goal is to figure out why they broke up in the hopes of repairing the relationship. They spend every waking moment learning all there is to know about their respective homes in California and England. 

But before they leave camp to embark on their mission, Annie and Hallie have to look alike. And that means Annie gets a haircut, swapping her long locks for a shorter do. The even bigger hurdle is getting her ears pierced like Hallie. With a needle and the help of an apple slice and a cube of ice, Hallie famously pierces Annie’s ears. 

Ear-piercing scene cut to discourage copycats

When The Parent Trap premiered in 1998 and became a box office hit, it went through changes when it aired in the U.K. and on the Disney Channel.

Lindsay Lohan smiles on the red carpet as she attends premiere of 'The Parent Trap'
Lindsay Lohan attends the premiere of ‘The Parent Trap’ | Steve Granitz Archive/WireImage

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According to E! News, the U.K. version of the movie didn’t include the famed ear-piercing scene so as to discourage young viewers from doing the same thing. Later, when the Disney Channel played The Parent Trap, it too did away with the scene. 

‘The Parent Trap’ way of ear piercing doesn’t work

Refinery29 debunked Hallie’s way of piercing Annie’s ears with the help of a professional. So, please don’t try the movie method at home. Is it life-threatening? No. And it’s not pain-free. The ice won’t do anything to lessen the pain, only reduce the swelling. And the fruit? It’s not necessary. 

Today, Disney has the entire movie — ear-piercing scene and all — on Disney+ along with the original. Watch both movies and do yourself and your ears a favor by replicating the movie’s iconic handshake at home, not the ear-piercing scene.