Home Alone: A Case Study On DIY Home Security

Home Alone is a tried-and-true Christmas classic, offering not just heart-warming entertainment, but also some interesting strategies on DIY home security!
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Be warned, this article is full of spoilers (and just maybe one or two plugs for our services). And while we have a deep and abiding affection for Home Alone, you should know that iSelect is not a sponsor of, or affiliated with, the Home Alone movie or any characters, actors, producers, or other individuals involved in the making of Home Alone.

Across 1 hour and 43 minutes...

...we watch as Kevin risks life and limb to secure his family fortress from a pair of degenerate thieves: Harry and Marv. Our hats go off to young Kevin McCallister who shows bravado, ingenuity, and some downright badass creativity in the face of danger. So let’s take a look at how he did it!

Step 1: Turn the lights on!

Science has proven that thieves are the exact opposite of moths, they hate light! This is Kevin’s first line of defense and proves fruitful, as the light instantly gives the impression that the house is occupied and scares the would-be thieves away. I hope the McCallisters compared energy plans to find a good deal, otherwise they could be in for some serious bill-shock thanks to Kevin!

Step 2: Throw a fake house party!

Ever wanted to throw an awesome party with all the benefits of great music and food, and avoiding the worst part...other humans? No friends, no problem! Kevin had Christmas music blaring, manikins dancing, and our favorite, a Michael Jordan carboard cutout riding around on an electric train set. Now that’s my kind of party - slam-dunk, Kevin!

Step 3: Play some mobster movies, ya filthy animal!

Is there a line more synonymous with Home Alone than:“Keep the change ya filthy animal”?

Kevin displays creativity and a world-class mastery of the remote control as he judiciously fast-forwards through a scene from his favourite mob movie. But does he stop there? Hell no. He brings this macabre illusion into the theatre of the real by lighting up fireworks to accentuate the Tommy-Gun used in the film.

There’s a tonne of mob classics you can choose from: The Godfather, Goodfellas, Casino, The Departed (Irish mob represent). Pick your favourite and let it scare away thieves, neighbours, annoying in-laws, anyone really!

Step 4: BB-gun through the cat flap

Now BB-Guns are not a strictly legal possession in Australia, and by strictly legal, I mean highly illegal. I mean, if you own one, you’re probably already on a no-fly list and the SWAT team is about to bust through your window like Christmas Eve at the Griswold's’ (another Christmas classic, holla!)

Kevin's strategy here is that, if you are going to engage directly with a thief, don’t come at them in the open – be a real man, and go through the cat flap. Respect.

Step 5: Pour water on icy steps

If you live in an Australian capital city, then you’ve not likely lived through many (if any) snowy winters. Maybe during some time abroad (ie: that one ski-season in Whistler that you can’t quite remember...)

In short, when the snow starts to melt on the streets it becomes incredibly slick and perilous to walk on. Kevin, a Chicago native, knew this of course, and poured cold water over his front steps, sending the thief straight into his back after just one step. After some time he did get up, but in reality, he’d have definitely popped a couple of discs. In which case, I hope he had appropriate health insurance!

Oh no! Not a shameless plug....

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Step 6: Booby trap the basement!

Up to this point we’ve discussed strategies which kept the thieves from breaching Kevin’s home, but what do you do if they usurp your external deterrents? As we saw in Home Alone, Kevin sets up a range of internal booby traps.

Marv, who breaks into the basement with a crowbar soon finds himself the victim of several pre-designed traps, which include:

  • Iron to the face via the laundry hatch
  • Sticky tar on the stairs leading up out of the basement
  • An upright nail in the staircase (which goes straight through his foot – yikes!)

Step 7: The heated doorknob! Guaranteed burns in the third degree

This one is a personal favourite. Here Kevin places some sort of electric heating grill on the inside door handle, which then transfers heat over to the corresponding outside door knob. Whether or not this would actually work in real life is irrelevant, as you can’t help but feel somewhat satisfied when Harry walks right into this one, grabbing the scolding handle and burning his palm to a crisp.   

Step 8: Blowtorch to the noggin!

I mean, I don’t even know where you’d get a blowtorch, let alone why the McCallister’s owned one. Was Mr. McCallister a closet pyromaniac? Potentially. Either way, Kevin was well-versed in the ways of the blowtorch, and set this bad boy up at the door, ready for Harry to stride in and have beanie and underlying scalp absolutely toasted. Burnt hand, burnt head – if it were me, I’d probably call it a day at that point.

Step 9: Turn your attacker into a chicken...

Here Kevin’s DIY home security takes a turn towards psychological warfare. He opts for the ancient Tzun Tzu mantra - “If you can’t break your opponent physically, break them mentally...by turning them into a chicken”. Here Kevin sets it up so that Harry walks into glue-laden Glad Wrap, then has a pile of feathers blown into his torso by a fan. And voila – chicken man is born!

Pretty intense stuff from an eight-year-old really, kind of dark, and a little bit weird, but Kevin we love your style. Cluckin’ good stuff!

Step 10: Booby trap the house!

Okay so the blowtorch scolding and chicken-man rouse didn’t work, so what’s next? Well, Kevin didn’t give up there. He had a plan A, a Plan B, C, D, E, and probably F at this point! Other booby traps he placed around the house included:

  • Spiky glass Christmas lights by the window: poor Marv steps on a host of glass lights which shatter on impact. He is going to need a good podiatrist when this is all said and done, I hope he has the appropriate Extras cover!
  • Tripping hazards: Kevin lay a host of slippering toys by the stairs, sending the thieves flat on their backs (how they can still stand at this point is beyond comprehension!)  
  • Flying paint tins: Also known as the ‘Dulux Special’ - a paint tin to the face is guaranteed to mess with anyone’s level of consciousness
  • Trip Wire: Not exactly a knockout punch, but it buys Kevin some much needed time to re-group and plot his next move!

Step 11: Get the pets involved!

Household pets – we love them. We feed them, we give them affection, and what do they give us in return? Joy of course. And vet bills, so many vet bills.

Let’s be honest, your poodle isn’t going to do much when it comes to deterring thieves save for a hell of a lot of barking. A German shepherd on the other hand? Now we’re talking.
In the case of Home Alone, Kevin unleashes his brother’s tarantula. No-one likes spiders – I'm literally getting goosebumps just typing this. Thankfully the spider wasn’t hurt in the process! And if it was, I’m not sure Pet Insurance covers spiders...

Step 12: The tactical retreat!

Having lured the thieves upstairs, Kevin then escapes out of a window via a DIY flying fox that takes him from the home to a two-story treehouse. After successfully baiting the thieves out of the window and onto the flying fox rope, Kevin cuts the rope and the two men plummet to the ground.  

Step 13: When all else fails...bail to your neighbour’s house!

Worst case scenario, the thieves foil (or miraculously survive) all your stunts and booby-traps, what do we do? Well, our man Kevin did what any honorable eight-year-old would do in the same situation – call the cops? No. Call a neighbour? Nope. Call a family friend? Still no. Instead, he ran to a neighbour's house, luring the two thieves. Bit of a dog move, Kevin!

Are there other ways to protect your home and valuables during the festive season?

Uh-oh...here comes another shameless plug! Yes, yes, you saw it coming.

Home security is great, but there are other additional things you can do to achieve more peace of mind when it comes to your home and valuables during the Christmas period. This may include finding a Home & Contents insurance policy.

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