Home Entertainment Home Alone: Hidden Secrets You Didn’t Know About The Holiday Classic

Home Alone: Hidden Secrets You Didn’t Know About The Holiday Classic

Monica December 4, 2023

It’s fairly safe to say that the 1990 holiday classic Home Alone is among the favorite Christmas movies of many. If it was one of your top holiday flicks growing up, you’re far from the only one. Millions of kids and adults alike fell in love with this Christmas series. You’ve probably at least seen the first two starring Macaulay Culkin even if the many sequels after those weren’t quite as memorable.

But there’s more to these movies than meets the eye. No matter how often you watched Home Alone, you likely missed some of these hidden secrets that we’re going to point out below. After reading our list, you’ll probably never look at the movie Home Alone or its stars the same ever again. It’s time to grab the popcorn and look at the hidden secrets of one of the most famous holiday movie franchises of all time. Enjoy.


Is That Elvis?

Even though Elvis Presley died in 1977, some Home Alone fans are convinced that he actually made a cameo in the movie. In one scene with Mrs. MacCallister, a bearded man is standing in the background. One fan wrote, “There’s only one conspiracy theory I believe in and it’s that the actor who stood behind Kevin’s mother in the Home Alone airport scene is Elvis Presley.” Some claim it has to be Elvis, and that it can’t possibly be anyone else (via Mirror). We’re not so sure about that, but hey, some people think that.

Vanity Fair

Why Donald Trump Made An Appearance

You may remember that Donald Trump made an appearance in Home Alone 2. But do you know why? The movie producers wanted to film at The Plaza Hotel in New York. But the only way they were allowed to was if they included Donald Trump in the movie. Because they needed that space to film, they had no choice. According to Forbes magazine, “We approached The Plaza Hotel, which Trump owned at the time because we wanted to shoot in the lobby … We paid the fee, but he [Trump] also said, ‘The only way you can use the Plaza is if I’m in the movie’. So we agreed to put him in the movie, and when we screened it for the first time the oddest thing happened: people cheered when Trump showed up on screen. So I said to my editor, ‘Leave him in the movie. It’s a moment for the audience.” Even though many others may prefer the movie without Trump, they left him in there (via Forbes).

The Sun

Real Snow Actually Showed Up

Even though the movie’s producers couldn’t afford snow, they couldn’t prevent it either. So when a massive blizzard covered the entire set of Home Alone on just the second day of shooting, they decided to make it a part of the movie. They called in snow machines for the remainder of the film’s production to keep the snow rolling in. Even after the real snow melted away, the fake flakes did the job and made it look like the snow stayed (via The Sun).


Boy In A Wig

Because Home Alone director Chris Columbus thought this joke was too cruel for a girl, they decided to cast Buzz’s girlfriend as s boy in a wig. Devin Ratray, who played Buzz, said, “[The producers] decided it would be unkind to put a girl in that role of just being funny-looking. The art director had a son who was more than willing to volunteer for the part. I think if he had known it would become the highest-grossing family comedy of all time, he might have had second thoughts about it.” At least it fooled viewers around the world, who had no idea what they were looking at (via LADBible).


Listen Closely

This Reddit user figured out one of the smallest details the movie probably has. During the scene where bumbling criminal Harry, played by Joe Pesci, gets hit in the face by a swinging paint can, there’s a small sound most of us probably never knew existed. This Reddit user said, “If you listen closely, you can hear Harry’s gold tooth landing on the floor. I’ve seen the movie dozens of times and admit this minuscule detail had me floored. I rewound and played it over again and it’s unmistakeable.” It’s time to turn on Home Alone again and try and spot this sound (via Reddit). Can you hear it?


The Gun-Shaped Tie Clip

No matter how many times you’ve seen Home Alone, it’s likely you never saw – or at least, didn’t notice – Joe Pesci’s gun-shaped tie clip at the beginning of the movie. It’s pretty comical that a police officer is wearing a gun-shaped tie clip. Maybe it was a giveaway that Pesci’s Harry wasn’t an upstanding officer after all (via Reddit).

Game Rant

The Crew Taped The Pages of Playboy Together

When the first movie was filmed, child actor Macaulay Culkin, who played the main character Kevin McAllister, obviously shouldn’t have been reading (or perusing) Playboy magazine. So wouldn’t see actual photos of nudity, the crew taped together the pages of the Playboy magazine in the infamous scene where Kevin is flipping through Buzz’s dirty mag. There was no way he could accidentally open one of the pages and snoop through the pictures. That may have disrupted filming to say the least. The only pages he could see were ones safe enough for the young boy to look at (via Game Rant).


The Movie’s Narrative Is Just Insane

This Reddit user hit the nail on the head. Many people, even fans of the movie, agree that the entire premise of Home Alone is a bit off. Well, maybe describing it as ‘a bit off’ is a bit off itself, as the movie’s premise is indeed downright crazy in terms of a real-world premise. This user wrote, “I mean a mother and father left their kid in America and flew to Paris. I love this movie and all of its quirks but I do think it’s crazy, the parents come home days later, to discover Kevin is safe and defended the whole house from two grown men (robbers).” Today that would be impossible and at the very least, we’d hope parents wouldn’t accidentally forget their child at home. And it’s also highly unlikely a kid would defend an entire house against robbers. But that’s beside the point and at least it’s a heartwarming Christmas movie that millions of people love despite its outlandish plotline (via Reddit).

Slash Film

Joe Pesci Bit Macaulay Culkin’s Finger

When Kevin McCallister is hanging from the coat hook at the end, Joe Pesci bites his finger. You’d think it’d be stellar acting and the kid wouldn’t have bit his finger, but you’re wrong. According to Macaulay, “During one of the rehearsals, he bit me, and it broke the skin.” He even has a scar as a memory and memento to prove it (via Cosmopolitan).


The 30-Year-Old Stunt Double

You’d assume that during filming, Macaulay Culkin had a stunt double his age to match his height and looks. But that’s not what the producers did. They hired a 30-year-old stunt double named Larry Nicholas for Kevin’s biggest stunts and falls during the movie. Funnily enough, his stunt double looked exactly like the nine-year-old. He had the same height and physique and in the dark, they looked the same. It’s definitely safer to hire a 30-year-old for the crazy stunts than a nine-year-old anyway (via Yahoo).


The Hughes Entertainment Logo

When we see Kevin at the Rockefeller Center Tree in Home Alone 2, the camera pans up to show the entire Christmas tree. The building behind the tree is off except for two lights. When combined with the star on top of the tree, it mirrors the Hughes Entertainment Logo, a company named after famous ’80s producer/director John Hughes, who is the producer of Home Alone. Some users of Reddit commented on this finding saying, “sneaky subliminal Hughes.” It can’t get any sneakier than that (via Reddit).


Angels With Filthy Souls Wasn’t Actually Real

In the film Home Alone, producers took their creativity to another level and created a fictional gangster film called Angels with Filthy Souls. That’s where the infamous line, “Keep the change, ya filthy animal” comes from. They didn’t stop there, and in the second Home Alone, they made a sequel to the fictional film. Famous comic actor Seth Rogan took to Twitter to admit he thought it was a real movie, saying, “My entire childhood, I thought the old-timey movie that Kevin watches in Home Alone (Angels With Filthy Souls) was an old movie.” Even Macaulay Culkin didn’t realize it was a fake movie as a kid. Perhaps it’s a good idea for a future film (via Buzzfeed).


The Number Of Passengers Matches The Plane Tickets

To this day, it still baffles many fans of the movie that parents forgot their kids at home but that’s beside the point. In Home Alone, producers showed the airport gate agent counting family members. But because Kevin is in the attic and his ticket is somewhere thrown in the trash. It’s even a pretty big detail that many of us seem to miss. The users of Reddit tried to process this, saying, “It winds me up that people still miss this detail and seem surprised when it’s flagged. There is an overhead shot of his ticket in the bin, it even zooms in a bit. Then there’s the neighbor getting wrongfully included in the headcount by Kevin’s sister (or cousin) before they get in the minicab to the airport.” The producers didn’t miss out on any detail (via Reddit).


The School Swimming Pool

When the “Wet Bandits” flood the neighbor’s home, they don’t film a flooded house. They used a nearby school’s swimming pool to film the scene and give it a realistic spinoff. Their imagination and creativity shone in this part of the movie, without it they wouldn’t have been able to use the scene. Only the interiors of the house were made up, the exterior of the home is all real and used as an actual house (via Screen Geek).

Home Alone Wiki

There Was Some Animation In The Movie

There was one animated effect in the movie, and that was the BB gun. Producers paid some guy living in his mother’s basement about $600 to hand-paint a BB gun for the movie. Director Chris Colombus said, “So that was an animated effect. A guy with a paintbrush in a basement for six frames hand-painted a BB. This was an $18 million film, so, for our budget, I’m pretty happy how it turned out.” They didn’t yet have CGI to work with like we do now (via Insider).


Little Nero’s Pizza

In Home Alone, there’s a pizza joint that’s unique only to the movie. They called it “Little Nero’s Pizza,” and their slogan is “no fiddlin’ around.” They’re suggesting they won’t cleverly burn your pizza. Legend has it that Nero fiddled while Rome was burning. You won’t have a burned pizza in this fictional pizza place. Even Reddit admires this little detail, saying, “I rewatched the first Home Alone movie recently, assuming my memories of it being fun were overinflated, but it is a well well-crafted movie, with a level of attention to detail that a lot of movies skip over these days. Little things like the scene transitions, and stuff that had to be tightly scripted mixed with John Candy’s somewhat improvisational approach to his scenes are blended fantastically.” It’s just about time to rewatch the movie and revisit these fictional spots (via Reddit).


Finding The Perfect House

It took weeks for producers to find the right house for the film. Ultimately, they chose a house in Winnetka, Illinois, because producers felt the house was both warm and menacing. The house is located about sixteen miles outside of Chicago. It was exactly how they imagined the house to look, even if it did snow within the first few days of filming (via Insider).


Marv And His Fake Feet

When Marv walks through the icy cold snow after Kevin masterfully made him take his shoes and socks off by walking through pine tar in the basement, you probably wonder how he could stand the icy temperatures and keep his act together. It turns out he’s wearing fake feet so he can successfully walk across the icy snow. The producers seriously thought about everything for this hit (via Reddit).


Old Wounds Can Heal

In the first Home Alone, Kevin McAllister’s neighbor Old Man Marley has a wound on his hand. When he first meets Kevin, his wound only has a bandaid. But when he reunites with his son and his kid, his wound is healed. Producers used this to symbolize that old wounds can heal. It can also symbolize the passage of time (via Reddit).


The Evil Furnace

Even the “evil furnace” in the movie had actors involved. Two crew members used flashlights and fishing lines to give life to the furnace, which scared Kevin in the movie. Because buying a high-end furnace didn’t fit into the movie’s budget, they had to do it budget style. It ended up working out better than they could have imagined (via Odeon Cinemas).

35 Best 'Home Alone' Facts - 'Home Alone' Movie Trivia to Know

It’s All Thanks To The Tennis Ball

To get some of her scenes in with Macaulay Culkin absent, Catherine O’Hara used a tennis ball to help her out. Due to restrictions on working hours with child actors, she didn’t always have a chance to speak with Macaulay. Cue the tennis ball. They’d place a tennis ball on a stand, about the height of Macaulay, and use that to shoot some of the scenes. The script supervisor would read the children’s lines and O’Hara would follow suit (via Good Housekeeping).


They Didn’t Use A Sound Stage

When they shot the movie scenes in Home Alone, they shot it in the actual house. That means there was no sound stage. The real owners, the Abendshien family, continued living in the house while they used it to shoot the movie during the five months of filming. As a part of the house deal, the producers paid for an apartment for the Abendshien family to live in, though they refused to move (via Huffington Post).


The Hand-Me-Down Coat

In Home Alone 2, we see his cousin Fuller (who was played by Culkin’s real-life brother Kieran) wearing the same coat that Kevin wore during the first Home Alone. This was a coy way of telling viewers that Kevin outgrew his coat and gave it to Fuller as a hand-me-down. Some Reddit users berated Kevin’s Uncle Frank because he was a cheapskate, so it makes sense his younger cousin would wear the same jacket. At least they were able to reuse it (via Reddit).

Chicago Mag

Using ‘Inventive’ Sound Effects For Traps

To replicate the sound of the burglar’s bodies hitting the ground, the crew used frozen roast beef. To make the flesh bubbling and sizzling sounds when they were roasted by the blowtorch and the heated door handle, they’d press the iron onto chicken skin (via eOnline).

Fandom Wire

Joe Pesci Wanted To Curse

Because Joe Pesci was used to adult scripts with a lot of cursing, he had to catch himself a few times to not let a few curse words slip out while filming Home Alone. According to IMBD, “A lot of Pesci’s unintelligible pained mutterings were his way to avoid cursing.” Even the director, Chris Columbus, advised him to say “fridge” instead of… we’re sure you can figure it out (via IMBD).


Daniel Stern Had A Tarantula On His Face

When Buzz’s tarantula, which escaped earlier in the film, landed on Daniel Stern’s face, he screamed in fear. At first, he felt reluctant about playing the part of Marv. He even asked the crew to remove the tarantula’s stinger. The crew told him no, even though it could be dangerous if he was stung. Luckily, the tarantula didn’t react when he screamed, otherwise, the movie would have taken a different turn. He said, “People who meet me are always curious if the tarantula was real if my scream was real, and if I was scared, crazy, or both. The answer to all three of those questions is ‘Yes.'” Stern is dedicated to his acting career (via Cosmopolitan).


Look Closely At The Blowtorch Scene

During the iconic blowtorch scene, the directors used an illusion called the “Pepper’s Ghost,” where the fire is pointing at a pane of glass and toward a fake head sculpture. For one split second, if you manage to pause the movie at the right moment, you can spot the fake head thanks to Joe Pesci’s position being off (via YouTube).


Warner Brothers Initially Had The Movie Rights

Even though we know Home Alone was produced by Hughes Entertainment and presented by 20th Century Fox, entertainment company Warner Brothers initially had the movie rights. But thanks to a budget dispute three weeks before production, they called it off. This happened because the budget grew from $13 million to $18 million. Eventually, the “film grossed $476.7 million worldwide (of which $285.8 million were from America).” (via Reddit).


Each Van Thought They Were The Eight Person Van

In the movie, there were two vans on the way to the airport. One van with eight people, and one van with nine people. Because Kevin was missing, both vans thought they were the eight-person van, not suspecting anything was wrong. Only the viewers knew something was off. And because Kevin’s ticket is thrown away, they don’t realize they had an extra ticket (via Reddit).

Food and a Film

There Was Extra Safety During The Popcorn Scene

When Macaulay jumps up and down on the bed while eating popcorn, crew members lie on the floor on either side of the bed to catch him in case he falls. These extra precautions were in place to keep the main character as safe as possible. This was also to avoid a possible lawsuit (via Bored Panda).

The Things

A Feud With Chevy Chase

Originally, John Hughes wanted Columbus to direct the similarly-revered Christmas classic National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. But after he met Chevy Chase, he realized there was no way he could ever work with him. When he finally admitted it was nearly impossible to work with Chase, he was sent the script for Home Alone instead. Chris said of Chase, “He’s an impossible human being and I just couldn’t make a picture with him – it’d be like making a film with Donald Trump. So I quit and I think John, in his way, admired that: the fact I had everything to lose and nothing to lose. Two weeks later, he sent me two scripts – one of which was Home Alone. He’s responsible for me continuing to work as a director today.” It was thanks to that feud with Chevy Chase that Home Alone was born (via The Things).


People Misjudged The Old Man

When Old Man Marley is scored using the ancient “Dies Irae” melody, which references a coming death, we misjudge him. After Kevin talks to him, the choir begins singing the “Carol of the Bells,” using the same melody notes. Both the audience and Kevin misjudged him (via Reddit).

Vanity Fair

Macaulay Culkin Barely Watched The Film

During an interview with Ellen DeGeneres on the now-controversial Ellen, Macaulay admitted he can’t watch the show like other fans can. All he remembers is the day and how it was on set, for example, how he was hiding his Pepsi behind the couch to shoot one of the scenes. He even calls his movie “background radiation at Christmas time” (via AP News).