Keep the Change, You Filthy Animal: Home Security Tips From Kevin McAllister

In the iconic 1990 John Hughes-produced film, “Home Alone,” eight-year-old Kevin McAllister is accidentally left behind when his family frantically takes off for a Christmas vacation in Paris. While his mother desperately tries to get home to her unattended son, Kevin, played by Macaulay Culkin, has to defend the family’s home from a pair of blundering burglars, Harry and Marv. Kevin’s creative security devices and traps are hilarious and inventive and end up saving the day.

“Buzz, I’m Going Through All Your Private Stuff! You’d Better Come Out and Pound Me!”

Today, more than two decades later, the type of scenario in “Home Alone” could be solved instantly with cell phones, Internet, high-tech security and other technologies. Unfortunately, we also have more to worry about, like the valuable information stored on our phones and computers. While home security has come a long way over the years, we can still take a page out of Kevin’s book when it comes to protecting our homes, along with utilizing the tools we have today.

“This is My House, I HAVE to Defend It!”

Kevin tried to keep the bad guys out with rigged doors, creative traps and psychological confusion. Before realizing Kevin was left behind, his mother, Kate, tries to remember anything she forgot like turning off the lights and shutting the garage door. Thankfully, home security today isn’t so exhausting. The newest security technology even lets you turn off lights, lock doors and even see into your home when you’re not there. A resource from the LifeShield home security systems blog suggested using alarm sensors not just on your doors and window, but within your home as well. They can sound an alarm and/or send a text message to your phone. Many security companies offer apps that you can easily access your settings and monitor your home.

“When I Grow Up and Get Married, I’m Living Alone!”

Although we have many conveniences today when it comes to protecting our home and family, make sure you prepare for any situation. Talk to your kids about what to do in emergencies. In “Home Alone,” although Kevin was only eight, he obviously had the sense not to answer the door to strangers and to call the police (eventually). Talk with your family about emergency plans and teach your kids how to make emergency calls and how to set the alarm system. Keep phone numbers, addresses, medical information, etc. easily accessible and visible for everyone in case something unfortunate happens.

“Had Enough? Or are You Thirsty for More?”

To keep Harry and Marv from pilfering his family’s valuables, Kevin came up with some creative schemes to hold them at bay. He strung together cardboard cut-outs and played loud music to make it look like a party was going on. He even played a violent movie to scare the burglars into thinking there were already thieves inside the house. Realistically you don’t have to come up with such elaborate hoaxes, but you still might want to take a cue from this crafty kid. Leaving a light on and maybe some music or the television can make robbers second guess if someone is home or not. Again, home automation is a convenient development that can save you from a break-in and also save energy. You can use a single screen to control alarms, water sprinklers, lights, heating and air conditioner, according to

“It’s Only My Imagination, It’s Only My Imagination.”

If you have a bad feeling, don’t disregard it; go with your gut. In the movie, Harry poses as a police officer to get invited into the McAllister’s home and learn about their trip. This gave him information he needed in order to plan a heist. If you are suspicious, take measures to ease your mind. Unlike in the early 90’s, there are simple Internet sites that give you background checks instantly. If there is an instance of you inviting a stranger into your home, even a maintenance person, maid or babysitter, you have the right to know their history. Sites like Angie’s List and are good resources when looking to hire someone you can trust. In this digitally dependent age, information is key.