6 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the “Home Alone” House

updated Dec 19, 2019
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Credit: ©20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection

In 1990, a family comedy topped the box office for more than three months, and even more surprising, is it’s still everywhere 30 years later. I’m talking about “Home Alone,” the iconic Christmas movie you’ve probably watched so many times you’ve lost count.

The home is central to the plot and its hilarious gags, basically serving as Macaulay Culkin’s co-star, so you might think you know it inside and out. But on a recent episode of Netflix’s “The Movies That Made Us,” there was some new light shed on the famous abode, including these six things you probably didn’t know about the “Home Alone” house.

The house hunting process took time

The location manager Jackie Bucksbaum and her team drove around northern Chicago suburbs for around 10 hours a day until they found the perfect house for the film. Why so much time and attention for a house that would only be used for a few weeks? Well, the house had to be warm, inviting, and oh-so special to justify the crazy antics Culkin resorts to in order to save it from burglars.

The location is near other famous film locations

The house is located in the north suburbs of Chicago, not far from where “Breakfast Club” and other John Hughes movie were filmed. That’s because the Windy City is writer and producer John Hughes preferred city for shooting, even in the dead of winter. Hughes wanted to stay away from the studios of Hollywood as often as he could.

They built the mansion’s interior from scratch—in a high school gym

The house was a mansion but still too small for a film crew to work inside. As a result they built the entire interior in the gym of a local abandoned school, New Trier High School, where the rest of the film crew offices were also located. Rebuilding a historic mansion isn’t cheap, which contributed to Warner Bros dropping “Home Alone” because it went over budget. Thankfully, 20th Century Fox scooped it up and all the hard work building the house wasn’t wasted.

All the interior decor is red and green

Inside the house, all the decorations are red and/or green. The carpet running up the main staircase is Christmas red, there is red and green printed wallpaper interspersed in the rooms with red or green curtains, and even kitchen counters and the telephone are dark evergreen. From the smallest details like red cups to the large green couches, everything was colored to instill a festive feel. You won’t be seeing any blue in the mansion.

Potato flakes were used for snow

The film crew used potato flakes for snow during exterior scenes. They had to wait until a real snowstorm dumped enough snow to cover the home to film, then still needed the extra effect afterward. Unfortunately, when the real snow started to melt, the potatoes rotted and smelled horrible for days. It all built up to the moment when the mom returns home to find her forgotten son, and it was well worth the stink.

There was a separate set for the burglary fight

Another tricky scene: Kevin’s final face-off with the burglars and the flooded house required yet another interior rebuild. The team built one more version of the house’s interior inside the school’s empty pool. They knew it would end up leaking once flooded, and what better place to catch the leaks than a pool?