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Chimney Entry

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Sometimes you need less "Huff and Puff" and more "Ho Ho Ho".

Then he ducked down the chimney, a bit absurd,
but if Mario could do it, then so could the Nerd.

Sometimes, characters like to make a dramatic entrance, and the front door can be seen as rather boring and ordinary. Or, it's because the front door is locked and there seems to be no other way in. Whatever the reason, the decision is made to climb onto the roof and come down the chimney.

This method of entering can be played for different moods:

  • Played for Laughs: A character is unfamiliar with how a house works and entering via the chimney...well, let's say It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time. We watch the shocked and concerned looks of the characters inside the building as they hear the sounds of the ceiling creaking and watch ash drip out of the chimney mouth, followed by a cloud of smoke engulfing the room as the intruder emerges from the smoke with an Ash Face, coughing violently while dusting themselves off. Expect the character to receive a "There Was a Door" reaction by the house residents and they might react with "I didn't know" or "I couldn't find it."
  • Played for Horror: Although entering through the chimney might look like they're trying to channel Santa Claus, it's clear that delivering pleasant gifts to children is the last thing this character has in mind. Tension rises as the inhabitants helplessly watch the intruder bypass the barred front door via the chimney.

Can lead to being Stuck in a Chimney.

The character may be Mistaken for Santa until things are cleared up, since of course it's a well-known fact that Santa Claus himself prefers to enter houses with this method.

Compare Air-Vent Passageway. Contrast Smokestack Drop, where a character falls down a chimney.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • In The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones #4, a Nazi strike team attacks Dr. Jones and his colleague by coming down the chimney.
  • A Mickey Mouse comic gives an explanation for this. Santa Claus has been arrested by a bunch of idiot cops in the Mouseton PD on burglary charges and thrown in a cell with Pete as his bunkmate. When Pete asks him about the chimney thing, Santa explains that any tunnel will magically expand to allow him through. Then Pete points to the minuscule air vent on the wall.
  • In The Smurfs one-page gag story, as the Smurfs are all getting excited over the presents they received from Santa, Chilly Smurf ponders why he received a pair of Santa pants with a hole burned in the seat while standing next to a roaring fireplace.
  • South Pole Santa Claus: Just like regular Santa, South Pole Santa Claus enters and exits houses this way.

    Fan Works 
  • In Hyperemesis Gravidarum by A.A. Pessimal, two teenage student Assassins are caught in an upstairs room by a gang of killers who are attacking the house and who are battering down their bedroom door. They are stuck for a way to escape. Until one of the house goblins leads them down the chimneystack to the living room, where other members of the family are mounting a fierce defense. Some years later, the niece of one of those students, herself now at the Assassins' School, remembers her aunt's exploits and uses the chimneys at Ramkin Manor in an attempt to ace her Vimes Run. This time it results in chastening failure, as her teacher Miss Band intended.

    Films — Animation 
  • Alice in Wonderland: Bill the lizard is sent down the chimney of the White Rabbit's house to get the monster inside (actually an enlarged Alice). Unfortunately, he accidentally sends clouds of soot from the chimney into the house, which makes Alice let out a Sneeze of Doom that blasts Bill into the sky.
  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire: After Milo comes home one night to find the mysterious Helga in his house, she jokingly claims to have gotten in through the chimney ("Ho, ho, ho."), yet her expensive furs aren't the slightest bit dirty.
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas! shows a cutaway view of a Whoville chimney with the Grinch attempting to descend it. His progress is problematic at first, but as his Whoville heists continue, it's clear the Grinch has gotten the hang of it.
  • In Klaus (2019), Jesper uses the chimney to enter houses and deliver presents.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas: During his Santa Claus impersonation, the first time Jack Skellington delivers presents he's shown going down the house's chimney.
  • Rise of the Guardians has North, the Santa Claus Expy, and the other guardians substituting for the abducted tooth fairies. North can hop into chimneys and pop back out at eye-blink speed.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Babadook: Amelia locks herself in the den and presses herself up against the fireplace on the far side of the room. Then a top hat lands in the hearth beside her and she realises that the Babadook is coming down the chimney.
  • In the fourth Barney and the Backyard Gang video, "Waiting for Santa", Barney enters Michael and Amy's house via the chimney but gets stuck; they pull him out by his feet and he crashes down coughing in a cloud of smoke.
  • In Gremlins (1984), Kate's father tried to surprise his family this way one Christmas. Unfortunately, he broke his neck and died in the process. Kate's family didn't find this out until later when they broke through the chimney to discover why there was a bad smell coming from it.
  • In How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, the Grinch tries to enter the first house through the chimney just like as seen in the book and the animated special. He gets stuck with his head upside down in the fireplace but manages to fall out and enter the house. Just as in the cartoon, he gets better at entering through the chimney with every house but is also seen dropping a giant vacuum hose down a chimney at one point.
  • Krampus: Unsurprisingly, Krampus' army of 'helpers' gains access to Max's house by coming down the chimney.
  • In Mary Poppins, there is the iconic chimney sweep rooftop scene, where the characters go up and down the chimneys.
    Mary Poppins: Michael, be careful! You never know what may happen around a fireplace. (Michael flies up the chimney) Oh, bother.
  • Inverted in MouseHunt where Ernie climbs up a chimney while trying to chase a mouse, only to get stuck. He later gets shot out of it after Lars unwittingly caused an explosion in the chimney.
  • In The Muppet Christmas Carol, Rizzo the Rat accidentally falls down a chimney and lands on a flaming hot goose.
  • In The Santa Clause, with houses that didn't have chimneys or fireplaces, but rather heating vents and pipes, Tim Allen's character Scott Calvin as Santa would enter the house through there and a fireplace would magically appear in the room where he landed in.
  • Tower of London, Lady Alice gains access to the Tower by posing as a chimney sweep's boy and having the sweep lower her down a chimney.

  • Santa Claus (or Father Christmas if you live in the UK) enters a house through its chimney. This is probably to not raise suspicion from the sleeping residents and disturb them, especially if he used the front door.

  • In Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Bill the lizard is sent down the chimney of the White Rabbit's house to get the monster inside (actually an enlarged Alice). Unfortunately, Alice's foot is blocking the fireplace. She gives it a swift kick and out comes Bill shooting into the sky.
  • In "The Chimney", the protagonist gains a lifelong fear of his family's chimney when he watches a film about Santa Claus, and misinterprets "Father Christmas" as a malicious boogeyman who lurks in chimneys so he can catch children. As he grows up, he overcomes his fear, only for the chimney to malfunction and cause a house fire that kills his father.
  • The Weasleys enter the Dursley's house like this Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Mr Weasley had the Dursley's fireplace connected to the wizard Floo network so they could pick up Harry, unaware that the Dursleys had had it bricked up. After he, Ron and the others end up piling into each other, he resorts to blasting their way out.
  • In Hogfather Mr. Teatime enters Lord Downey's office via connected fireplace flues, despite a protective grid installed in the top of the chimney. Later in the novel Death, who is subbing for Hogfather, reluctantly uses the traditional chimney entry route, despite arguing with Albert that it's completely unnecessary for him.
  • In the Mog book "Mog's Christmas", Mog the cat sleeps on a snow-covered chimney pot; but as the family are having Christmas dinner, Mog suddenly falls through the chimney into the empty fireplace.
    Oh look, it's Father Christmas!
    No! Father Christmas does not have a tail.
  • In Otto of the Silver Hand, One-eyed Hans disguises himself as a peddler in order to infiltrate Castle Trutz-Drachen. A woman lets him into an antechamber, then leaves to gather her friends, locking the door behind her. As soon as she's gone, Hans climbs up the chimney. Then he comes to a place where another chimney joins the one he's in, so he goes down that chimney. He drops down into the kitchen, black with soot. A startled sculling boy yells "It's the evil one!" and runs out of the kitchen.
  • Samurai Santa: Like with all known iterations of Santa Claus, he enter's Yukio's house this way, twisting his way through the very maze-like chimney.
  • The story of The Three Little Pigs has the Wolf terrorizing the third pig in the brick house and trying to enter his house like this, unintentionally falling into a cauldron full of boiling water that the pig had left at the bottom for him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In 1000 Ways to Die, one of the Asshole Victim casualties has an insane ex-girlfriend that kept stalking his boyfriend and his wife, and that tried to get into the man's house via the chimney while they were away on vacation in order to live in and (probably) eventually catch them when they returned. Unfortunately, she got stuck in said chimney and died of dehydration... and the corpse was found by the lovebirds when they came back home and turned on the chimney, setting the corpse on fire.
  • Doctor Who: In "A Christmas Carol", the Doctor chooses a Chimney Entry because his TARDIS happened to have landed on the roof, and the temptation was just too much.
  • In the original series of Horrible Histories, a sketch from the Victorian era featured aristocrats hiring a child chimney sweeper to clean the chimney out, leading to him dislodging three teenagers who enter the room this way, and Santa Claus.
  • At the end of Merry Christmas Drake & Josh, Santa Bludge enters the house right out of the chimney by breaking the wall and destroying a flat-screen TV in the process.
  • In Santa Sent Me to the ER, this is the basis for the Backdoor Santa segment. Egged on by his drunken idiot of a brother-in-law (his wife's younger brother), a man dresses as Santa Claus in the bid to give a pleasant surprise to his kids. He forgot to tell the Mrs. about his plans... and got a painful surprise in the behind for his troubles. In his fall, he landed butt-first on the poker she'd put in the fireplace (YOW!!!).
  • In The X-Files episode "Squeeze", serial killer Eugene Victor Tooms uses this method to gain entry to a house and kill the resident. Justified since Tooms is a mutant, able to narrow and elongate his body to fit into extremely small passages.

  • Stan Freberg recorded the novelty song "Nuttin' for Christmas", about an incorrigible hellion recounting his many misdeeds, which will net him "nuttin' for Christmas." However, someone does descend the chimney of the kid's home: a burglar. He and the brat apparently have an arrangement in which the kid gets a cut of the fence for keeping mum about the theft. This song later gets an Animated Adaptation by Doug Compton that's viewable on YouTube.
  • The Bob Rivers "Twisted Christmas" album includes "The Chimney Song" sung by a little girl about how Santa Claus didn't show and there's something stuck in the chimney that smells increasingly foul as the year goes by. Put two and two together, and...

    Video Games 
  • ANNO: Mutationem: In a Surprise Santa Encounter, Sigrid makes a wish to receive a present from Santa, who enters from the chimney of the Flores household. Later becomes a Brick Joke when 'Santa' returns again, only Holtz makes sure he doesn't get away.
  • Banjo-Kazooie:
    • In the original game, to get the Jiggy from Napper, a sleeping ghost in Mad Monster Mansion without waking him up, Banjo and Kazooie will need to enter the titular mansion through the chimney, then hop across the chairs to reach the table Napper is sleeping on, as walking across the creaky floors will wake Napper up.
    • In Banjo-Tooie, one of the ways you can enter Grunty Industries is through a smokestack. Interestingly, this is the factory's only one-way entrance, as you have no way of ascending the smokestack from inside.
  • In Day of the Tentacle, the characters can cut corners by passing through the mansion's chimney.
  • In Glider PRO, the chimneys of the roof background are often made into transporters.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Link has to learn a sword technique in one town, but the instructor's door doesn't open. What he has to do is activate his Jump spell, jump to the roof, and...well, guess.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons, Link has to enter the chimney of a woman's house during the winter in order to gain access to the second dungeon. She initially mistakes him for Santa Claus (a chimney sweep in the European version).
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Luigi's Mansion: To enter a locked room on the third floor, Luigi jumps down the chimney of the mansion.
    • Paper Mario:
      • In Paper Mario 64, this is how you initially reach the second floor of Herringway's house, as he has retracted the stairs leading up from the first floor, and won't lower them until he agrees to help you.
      • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Bobbery doesn't want to be disturbed so he locks himself inside. You naturally have to climb up on the roof and roll up into a tube so that you fit in the chimney.
  • The Smurfs (1994) inverts this in the Smurf Village level, as when the Smurf enters into a Smurf house through a door, he pops out through its chimney.
  • In Tomb Raider III, Lara can climb the chimney in the library of her own home in order to access a secret section of the attic.

    Web Original 
  • In the The Angry Video Game Nerd episode, "How the Nerd Stole Christmas", the Nerd plans to steal all the good video games in Gameville and replace them with bad ones. He enters the houses through the chimneys the way Mario travels through warp pipes.
    Narrator: Then he ducked down the chimney, a bit absurd, but if Mario could do it, then so could the Nerd.
  • Smosh pointed out in a holiday parody video that if Santa Claus tried this method of breaking and entering, he'd get stuck halfway down. The clip shows Santa's feet sticking out of the chimney mouth as he screams for help to get out as his feet are burned by the flames from the fireplace.
  • This is a recurring problem in What the Fuck Is Wrong with You?, where people will try to get into houses via the chimney and invariably get stuck, often necessitating the help of the local police and fire departments.

    Western Animation 
  • The opening credits sequence of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters has Oblina floating down the chimney of a schoolhouse on an umbrella after scaring a man who was holding her when she posed as the umbrella's handle. When she lands, the children she scares run out.
  • The Cuphead Show!: In the Christmas Episode, when The Devil-as-Santa gets to the first house along with Henchman, the former drops the presents through the chimney, then makes an attempt to climb down there, but ends up getting stuck because he's too fat. He ends up having to use his pitchfork to teleport himself inside.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: In "Ed, Pass It On", Nazz enters Eddy's house from his chimney to show off her yodeling.
  • In the Family Guy episode "Love Thy Trophy", Peter is on a rescue mission to free Stewie from his foster parents. He enters their home through the chimney and causes a bit of a racket, disturbing Stewie's new foster siblings. Peter lies that he's Santa Claus and is just practising for Christmas. This causes the multi-ethnic adopted babies to argue about what race Santa is.
  • Futurama:
    • The robotic Santa Claus usually enters houses through the chimney. However, due to a programming error, he does not bring gifts but kills everyone, except Zoidberg. So many houses have installed security systems that seal windows and the chimney (it is questionable why houses still have chimneys in the first place when they could mean a gruesome death every Christmas).
    • In one episode the crew freezes Santa Claus and decides to replace him with Bender, who would bring gifts instead of death. He also enters houses through the chimney, but to his dismay, people confuse him with the old Santa and either attack him with military-grade weapons, or commit suicide when seeing him.
  • In an episode of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, the two main characters need to get into a house to do tooth fairy work. They try entering through the chimney but are intercepted by the kid living there, who mistakes them for burglars and throws them out.
  • Two Looney Tunes cartoons had Sylvester the Cat trying to protect an animal cats love to eat, and while doing so, a cat tries to enter the house through the chimney, so Sylvester sends a balloon up the chimney flue with a stick of dynamite tied to it and blows the cat up through the flue and away from the house.
    • The first time Sylvester does this is in "A Mouse Divided", where Sylvester is the protective father of a baby mouse that was mistakenly delivered to his residence instead of a baby cat, and a cat tries to enter into the house through the chimney, pretending to be Santa Claus, only it's the wrong time of the year.
    • The second time is in "Tweet And Sour", only this time, Sylvester has to protect Tweety from Sam the Cat, sporting an eyepatch. After Sylvester tried to eat Tweety one too many times, Granny threatens to send him to the violin string factory to be made into the instrument if he is caught doing so again, and Sam is uncaring that Sylvester will be deemed responsible for the canary's disappearance. Near the end of the cartoon, as Sam tries to get in the house through the chimney, Sylvester sends up the dynamite with the balloon. Sam sees the dynamite float up and quickly gets out of the chimney, then when the balloon supposedly floats away, Sam reenters the chimney, but then the balloon floats back down and Sam is blown up and ousted. However, as Sylvester tries to put Tweety back in his cage after the fact, you can guess what happens next.
      Granny: (enters the house and believes Sylvester is trying to eat Tweety again) So! Even after all that warning!
      Sylvester: (tries to explain what really happened, but it's no use) Ah, what's the use?! She'd never believe me! (plays Chopin's "Funeral March" on the violin before falling into the cello case as a coffin to his demise)
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Hearth's Warming Eve", Chancellor Puddinghead enters her own house via the chimney. Partly because the front door is snowed in, and partly because she's strange like that.
    Smart Cookie: Wouldn't it have been easier to use the door, Chancellor?
    Puddinghead: Maybe for you, Smart Cookie. But I am a chancellor. I was elected because I know how to think outside the box. Which means I can also think inside the chimney. Can you think inside a chimney?
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): In one episode, a Villain of the Week attempts to enter the Powerpuffs' house from the room disguised as Santa, only to get attacked by a squirrel and falls off. He tries it again, but gets stuck the moments he jumps in.
  • Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town explains why Santa enters houses this way. In the town where he made his first deliveries, toys were outlawed by the villainous Burgermeister, so the young Santa had to deliver them by night, and because the doors and windows of the houses were locked, the chimneys were the only way he could get in.
  • Sweepy Smurf of The Smurfs (1981) makes his entry into houses through the chimney as the village chimney sweep, which doesn't please most Smurfs as he kicks up a big cloud of soot when he comes down.
  • In one episode of Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Spider-Man tries to save Silvermane, who is being hunted down by the Insidious Six. While swinging him through the rooftops, Spidey drops Silvermane down a chimney for safety. The next time we see Silvermane, he's walking out of the building, telling two kids that he "only brings presents on Christmas."

    Real Life 
  • Not advisable in modern times as many a "crafty crook" can attest. Chimneys are basically death traps if you're trying to be sneaky and enter a home or business this way. It's hot, cramped and unless you’re smart enough to tie a rope around yourself to climb back out, you will basically die of heat, starvation and dehydration.
  • In the days of Victorian Britain, children were made to clean out chimneys for the rich and often got stuck up there, making them sometimes enter the room at random like this when they eventually dislodged themselves. Due to child labor laws over the years, this was later abolished due to this, as well as health and safety.


Video Example(s):


Blowing up the chimney

Sam tries to enter the house through the chimney, but Sylvester chases him out by way of a stick of dynamite tied to a balloon sent up the flue. Sam quickly escapes the chimney when he sees the dynamite, then when the balloon supposedly floats away, Sam reenters the chimney, but the balloon floats back down and he's blown up.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / ChimneyEntry

Media sources: