In the grand scheme of holiday movie classics, for us there’s none better than the mighty Home Alone. You know the one – the hilarious, ingenious tale of Kevin McCallister, a kid accidentally left home alone over Christmas, and who has to defend that home from two not-so-nice burglars.
More than 25 years after Home Alone first hit theaters, it’s still a holiday classic. It’s still full of hilarity and imagination and, yes, more than a few good security tips. But Kevin didn’t get everything right. So here’s a quick security-pro overview of what Kevin did right, what he could have done better, and how much easier his task would have been today:
Home [Alone] Security Done Right
Kevin ultimately beats the bad guys, so he obviously did something right. Here’s a rundown:
- He created an escape plan: Remember that awesome “Battle Plan” Kevin drew? Every family needs an official plan to pull out during emergencies, both natural and manmade.
- He pretended someone(s) was home: One of the best things to do when leaving your home alone, is to pretend someone’s actually there. Kevin did a lot of things we still do today: he set his lights on timers, turned on the TV to make noise, set up dummy residents, and even used recorded voices to respond to the burglars.
- He kept valuables out of sight: One of the cardinal rules of securing your home is to keep expensive electronics and valuables out of the line-of-sight.
- He was hyper aware of his surroundings: Kevin’s success didn’t hinge only on his ingenuity; rather, his ability to think ahead, to brainstorm solutions, and to pay attention to everyone and everything around him, is what kept him safe.
What Kevin Did Wrong
As resourceful as Kevin was, he didn’t do everything right. Here are a few of his more egregious errors and oversights:
- He panicked: We all remember the infamous aftershave scene: Kevin claps his hands to his face, and screams. Of course, he also runs around the house in a panic, and generally loses it when he realizes he’s well and truly alone. The first rule of staying safe: don’t panic!
- He didn’t call 911: He probably forgot in his panic, but the very first thing to do if you’re a kid left home alone – or if your worried that your home is being broken into! – is to call 911.
- He forgot to lock the doors: Yeah, the other #1 rule of home security? Lock the doors. Oops.
- His parents didn’t let the neighbors know they’d be away: Remember Old Man Marley (aka the South Bend Shovel Slayer)? If Kevin’s parents had only let him know they’d be away, he’d have known immediately that Kevin was home alone – and in trouble.
How Home Alone Would be Different Today
Obviously, 25 years makes a big difference in home security and technology. Here are a few things that would be different if Kevin were a kiddo today:
- First of all, he’d have an actual alarm: If Kevin’s parents had an alarm today, it’d be connected to their security company. With cellular technology, not even a tech-savvy burglar could have separated Kevin from help. Help that would have immediately called the police, even if Kevin forgot to dial 911.
- The doors would lock on their own: Kevin’s parents’ would-be smart home would have locked the doors and windows behind them.
- Smart sensors would “see” the burglars: Kevin’s booby traps are the best part of Home Alone, but they wouldn’t have been necessary in 2015: smart sensors would have picked up the burglars’ movements and alerted the security company.
- Security cameras would have looked in on Kevin: Remember Kevin’s parents’ panic, once they realized he wasn’t with them? If they had had connected security cameras, they would have been able to check in on Kevin.