Movies + TV

How to Be Home Alone

Use these tips from Kevin McCallister to get the most out of your solo time.

When Home Alone was released in 1990, critics said the movie resonated with kids because they liked the idea of someone their age outsmarting adults. I don’t know, this might have been true for me when I was six, but now when I watch the movie I can’t help admiring how cool and comfortable Kevin McCallister seems with being by himself. He’s eight years old, his parents are in France, having accidentally left him back home in Chicago, and he doesn’t freak out. Of course he thinks that he’s somehow magically made them disappear, but whether he understood that his parents were really just incredibly neglectful or not, he was at peace with his solitude. We can all learn so much about how to enjoy being alone in a home from Home Alone.

1. Eat Junk and Watch Rubbish

The reasons behind the banning or condemnation of certain activities by your parents or society at large are totally understandable. Don’t have unprotected sex, don’t go on a coke bender, don’t rob banks, don’t feed your gremlin after midnight, etc. It totally makes sense not to do these things. Most of us get it. But other activities, relatively innocent activities, are forbidden for reasons that can seem arbitrary and motivated by some baffling, totalitarian need to prevent you from enjoying the simple, inexpensive pleasures in life. So, with no one home to judge or reprimand you, take this opportunity to satisfy your baser desires and harmless curiosities. Be unsophisticated. Check out Showgirls; dip into the post-Adaptation oeuvre of Nic Cage. And while you’re at it, start shoveling that cookie dough ice cream into your mouth. This isn’t a long-term change in your eating or viewing habits. You’ll go back to your veggies and your PG-13 films. But for now, let that melted ice cream drip down your chin. This is your moment. Savor it.

2. Go Through Everyone Else’s Private Stuff

I hope you know that your entire family is going through all of your stuff when you’re not home. They’re probably even throwing mini parties that revolve around rummaging through your dresser drawers, trying on all of your clothes, and doing distasteful impressions of you. So you might as well even the score. Plus, you have to think that on some level they must want you to go through their belongings—if they didn’t, the locks on their storage chests wouldn’t be so easy to pick and their internet passwords wouldn’t be so predictable.

3. Sled Down the Stairs

There’s absolutely no way that this could go wrong.

4. Wash All of Your Major Crevices

Whether you’re trying to be considerate or you’re just afraid that someone will barge in on you and see your nethers, taking a satisfying shower when everyone’s home can be difficult. But now that you’re by yourself, you can finally give all of your major crevices the attention that they deserve. Get a real good lather going. And since there’s no chance of anyone interrupting you, spend a little time on those minor, tertiary, and peripheral crevices too.

5. Avoid the Basement

You aren’t eight years old anymore, but that doesn’t mean that the beastly furnace in your basement has stopped wanting to eat your soul. Being home alone obviously has its perks, but it can also be pretty terrifying. There’s no need to exacerbate things. I know, I know—you’re thinking, But Kevin was able to conquer his fears. I should go down there and do the same thing! Well, Kevin is Jackie Chan to your Jaden Smith. You have not yet reached Kevin’s level of Zen. So until you do, stay out of the basement. Seriously. I love you and don’t want anything to happen to you.

6. Get Some Perspective on Your Family Issues

Use this moment of solitude to really consider the relationship you have with your family. How many of your grievances are legitimate? How many of those grievances are, let’s say, less legitimate, and have to do with things like your fam’s apparent unwillingness to attend to your insatiable appetite for plain cheese pizza? In the words of Kevin’s creepy old neighbor who turned out to be a nice guy (but still was a little weird because he had to have realized that Kevin was home alone and yet, for some reason, never called the cops): “Deep down you always love ’em, but you can forget that you love ’em. And you can hurt them and they can hurt you.” Maybe this time by yourself will help you appreciate your family more. Or hell, maybe they really are jerks. But I think it’s always going to be beneficial and probably even cathartic to step back and quietly examine your situation.

The one area where Kevin and I differ is on home security. It is your home and you should defend it, but the best way to do that, especially when you’re alone, isn’t by setting up booby traps. Lock all of the doors and call the cops if you hear or see anything threatening or suspicious. And maybe buy a sword. Swords are good. ♦


  • Flower December 14th, 2011 3:15 PM

    when I was about 10 and my brother 15 we used to watch this movie obsessivley and laugh every time, and rewinding the bit where the guy steps on the nail millions of times. And there’s this other movie thats a bit like this would be if you replaced the boy with a wierd fluffly alien thing (only it was really old so I don’t think it was copying Home Alone.) Does anyone know the name of it?

  • ashleylikescats December 14th, 2011 3:15 PM

    Oh, Home Alone, I love you.

  • Maddy December 14th, 2011 3:15 PM

    check, check, check for sledding down stairs (in laundry basket, young child) and owning a sword…it’s a saber :D

  • Asta December 14th, 2011 3:22 PM

    I wonder if it’s too late to add “a sword” to my wish list.

  • Fortune_Goddess December 14th, 2011 3:43 PM


  • Abby December 14th, 2011 3:47 PM

    Not to sound like I’m obsessed with sex or anything, but Home Alone time is prime time to… er… what was that word one girl used? Jill off? I think? Maybe? No? Ok, masturbate.
    I mean, you’re not limited to your room and/or bathroom when you’re Home Alone! You could do it in the kitchen if you wanted!

  • yourenotfunny December 14th, 2011 3:58 PM

    Home Alone is like, the best Christmas movie ever. We had it on VHS when I was lil’, and I’m pretty certain I watched it year-round. On another note, I pretty much always take super long showers when I’m home alone and no one can scream at me for wasting water. Super relaxing.

  • Emma Dajska December 14th, 2011 4:35 PM

    oh god, i’ve got some really serious ambivalent feelings for this movie. I could even say PATRIOTIC feelings. let me explain it: EVERY CHRISTMAS we have “home alone” at prime time on public channel,on december 24th (which is more important than actual christmas day in my country). Everybody hates that (it’s spoiling a serious amount of christmas eve dinners), every year there are jokes about that, even articles in serious newspapers, sometimes it’s even used as a metaphor of “loosing the spiritual aspect of christmas in modern society”. So last year they said it would be no “home alone” that year and people got so angry, there were dozens of facebook groups&events to put it back, it became such a big deal in various medias that they finally changed the schedule… nobody knows how did “home alone” became one of the most important national christmas traditions but that’s a fact.

  • allydoubleyou December 14th, 2011 4:44 PM

    this post made my soul happy.

  • Marguerite December 14th, 2011 4:49 PM

    I used to love this movie! …wait isn’t that kid really messed up now… but anyways i love that movie so much! oh and i always go in my sister’s room when she’s out…haha

  • beatricks December 14th, 2011 5:12 PM

    I love you, this article.

  • December 14th, 2011 5:39 PM

    A. Home Alone (1&2) <3
    2. This is funny & informative :-)
    D. Kevin!!!!!!

  • Rhianna December 14th, 2011 8:29 PM

    I’m home alone way too much and it looses its appeal rather fast…I think I’m what the French call, “Les incompetant” in the department of coming up with things to do while home alone now.
    I think I need to go get lost in New York now that would be rather wonderful indeed.
    For the record; I can recite the entire script of Home Alone 2, stage directions and all. I swear to god. A side effect of home-alone-dom means you begin to do things like that to pass the time which seem absolutely pointless; not unlike Home alone 3 & 4, eh?
    Troutsniffin’ 4 lyf.

    • Miarele December 15th, 2011 12:30 AM

      I don’t know why but even since I first watched it “Les incompetents” is the one phrase I remember the most from the movie

  • Adrienne December 14th, 2011 11:34 PM

    Hahaha cute article! Unfortunately, I am not home alone that often. :( But when I am alone, then I’d usually follow #1. :D

  • Cateyes December 15th, 2011 10:18 AM

    I have to agree with Abby. Kevin may have thought that no clothes on anybody was sickening when he was 8 but give it a few years and I am sure he changed his mind. :)

  • RockHatesMiriam December 15th, 2011 11:28 AM

    My sister and I would always hide just before my family went on holiday because we wanted to be home alone! true story.

  • quinn15 December 15th, 2011 12:44 PM

    I have been reading Rookie for about two months since my English teacher showed us the original blog and the magazine. I have to say I love all of the different voices in the magazine…everyone is so witty! I adore this post and just to let you know, next time I’m home alone, I’m doing each and every one of these marvelous activities.

  • Maialuna December 15th, 2011 6:39 PM

    “Well, Kevin is Jackie Chan to your Jaden Smith.”

    Rookie is the best thing ever. Seriously. And so is Jackie Chan.

  • MissKnowItAll December 15th, 2011 7:21 PM

    Did his parents go to France or Florida????

    • Amber December 16th, 2011 1:33 PM

      They went to Florida in Home Alone 2.

  • MissKnowItAll December 15th, 2011 7:24 PM

    When I’m Home alone I watch Monk and eat muffins like there is no tomorrow.

  • Laurel December 20th, 2011 3:36 PM

    I’ve been lurking too long, but Showgirls pulled me out of my silence.

    Seriously, best. movie. ever. I will never ever tire of it, and just got my best friend a copy for $9.99 at Best Buy. Rookies, if you haven’t already seen Showgirls, you need to now: it’s living proof that crappy bargain bin cinema is a thousand times more worth your while than anything 3D, on Blu-ray, or any three hour CGI epic.

    Plus, it’s all fashionable and shit. Ver-sayce.

  • FrankG December 28th, 2011 2:27 PM

    I just got ‘How to be Alone’ for Christmas. I like your title.

  • oriana December 29th, 2011 1:13 PM

    Aw. This is my favourite christmas movie by far, it feels like home : )

  • ninamau5 January 2nd, 2012 8:56 PM

    “And maybe buy a sword. Swords are good.”


    one time, i took a shower when i was home alone, and i walked around in my underwear for like, an HOUR.
    it was amazing.