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"Home Alone" Antics

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And wacky antics ensued!

Named after and popularized by (but not started by) Home Alone, "Home Alone" Antics are an unusually specific trope. At its most well-known form, a kid sets traps in or around a house, and bad guys who are after the kid (or the house, or something inside the house) end up getting hurt by the traps.

There can be variations on the concept. It doesn't have to be a kid who sets the traps or tricks the bad guys — in fact, in one movie, it was a dog. The traps don't always need to be "set"; they can be part of the architecture/environment. However, the one required aspect is dumb/goofy villains being tricked into falling for the traps in a comedic manner.

This is the Lighter and Softer version of Protect This House, and a variant of the Humiliation Conga. A subtrope of Slapstick and by extension, "Die Hard" on an X. Related to Home Field Advantage, as the kid is probably setting up the traps in his own home or some place he's more familiar with than his opponents. For more serious takes on the trope outside kids or their homes, see Trap Master.


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    Comic Books 
  • One Archie Comics story has Archie and Jughead house-sitting for Mr. Lodge. Although the mansion has a sophisticated security system, the boys decide to play it safe and add some extra anti-burglar defenses, involving the usual buckets of water, tin cans, flypaper, etc. Of course, Mr. Lodge comes home and walks into all the booby traps.

    Comic Strips 
  • One Calvin and Hobbes strip has Calvin's parents come home to find a house full of booby traps, because Calvin watched a scary movie while they were out and then rigged up defenses against a monster attack.

    Films — Animation 
  • Beauty and the Beast has an unusual case — the Enchanted Objects, upon realizing that they won't be able to keep the Angry Mob out of the castle, decide to assemble in the foyer, freeze, and let the humans break in. As soon as LeFou grabs Lumiere to get a better look at things, the candelabra shouts "Now!" and all of the objects begin to attack and/or frighten the mob in various ways, ranging from the Wardrobe jumping off a balcony onto several men to the Footstool tricking others into the kitchen, whereupon the ustensil drawers spring open to reveal knives standing at attention and the stove blazes and roars. In short, the defenders are the traps. This manages to Shoo Out the Clowns, leaving only Gaston to actually confront the Beast in the second half of the film's climax. As this film was originally released a year after Home Alone, one of the kid-skewing television ads for it actually focused on this sequence, even using the phrase "home alone" in the announcer's voiceover.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 3615 code Père Noël, a 1989 French thriller that is said to have inspired Home Alone, to the point where writer/director René Manzor threatened a lawsuit. A young boy named Thomas tries to contact Santa Claus and accidentally gets in touch with a local criminal, who learns that Thomas' mother is a wealthy manager of a department store and that his home is probably filled with valuables to steal. Very much Darker and Edgier than Home Alone and played as a horror-thriller; the criminal, dressed as Santa, kills Thomas' dog in front of him and multiple people over the course of the film before Thomas' grandfather kills him.
  • Played for Horror in The Aggression Scale. Owen is definitely psychotic to some degree and his traps are absolutely brutal, with gory results. Good thing the people who end up falling into them are a bunch of Mob assassins.
  • Alone in the Woods involves a boy tricking and tripping up two bad guys as he tries to rescue a kidnap victim.
  • Given a very dark twist in Better Watch Out, where it turns out that swinging a paint bucket into someone's face from the upstairs balcony (which Luke saw in Home Alone and decided to try out in real life) will kill them.
  • Blank Check is mostly about a kid who lives it up with money he obtained dishonestly, but near the end, he suddenly knows how to use the layout of his castle to stop the bad guys who are out to get him.
  • Home Alone is the Trope Namer and Trope Codifier. The majority of the film is actually about a boy's attempts to live on his own after his family accidentally leaves him at home when they go on vacation, and how he manages buying food, tricking people into thinking there are others in the house, and so on. However, the movie is overwhelmingly remembered for its third act, which consists of the boy MacGyvering various traps around his house to deal with two bumbling robbers trying to break in and rob the place, followed by said robbers getting caught in the traps and suffering plenty of Amusing Injuries. The traps only get more violent and extreme in the second movie.note  It should be pointed out that, in at least the first two Home Alone films, some of the traps were made worse, or entirely created, by the bad guys as they bumbled around. In fact, in both movies, Kevin was caught and would have been killed if there wasn't an intervention by an adult. In the first, the bad guys even catch up to Kevin early, and would have killed him had Kevin not been lucky enough to be within arm's reach of his brother's spider.
  • MouseHunt replaces the child with a rodent, with the traps being the work of the same humans they later backfire on, Tom and Jerry style.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street's climax features Nancy fighting off Freddy Krueger with booby traps and improvised anti-personnel devices the heroine had been studying earlier in the film.
  • Ping is about a dog that manages to trip up two dumbass robbers who are attempting to rob the house.
  • The final battle in Rambo: Last Blood has Rambo setting booby traps all over his ranch for Hugo Martinez and his Human Traffickers to fall for. Unlike Home Alone, the traps are very bloody.
  • Remote is an obscure 90s film where the child protagonist ends up on his own and must battle three silly villains all with the help of a remote control! Or, being more specific, with a variety of remote-controlled toys that the kid (who has an obsession of collecting them that his parents are fed up with) had to hide within the model home that the villains have taken refuge in (and thus he is trapped on).
  • The Richie Rich live-action movie turned into this near the end, as the house's traps were used against the bad guys. This time it was a group of kids using them. This example might be an Actor Allusion too, since Macaulay Culkin starred as Richie as well as the first two Home Alones.
  • 3 Ninjas includes a scene early on where kidnappers are tripped by traps set by the brothers. It's actually a double subversion since the kids' first plan was to call the police, especially since the robbers have guns, but decide to do it anyway to convince their dad that their grandfather is a good teacher. Said grandfather, a former ninja, trained the kids for years in ninja techniques. The traps aren't as elaborate since the kids learned of the kidnapping as the crooks entered the house, but the kids are more than competent enough to handle them.
  • Too Much: The Robot With a Heart has Susie and a Japanese boy escape bungling kidnappers/robotnappers by setting traps that they comically fall for, resulting in them making a huge mess of a fish market.
  • Subverted in Spy Hard: A bunch of secret agents chasing a Captain Ersatz of Kevin McAllister through a house simply evade and defuse all of the traps.
  • Violent Night: Having seen the Trope Namer prior to the events of the film, Trudy Lightstone sets up some traps to defend herself in the attic as the family estate is besieged by mercenaries. The violence is surprisingly more realistic than in most movie.
  • Yankee Zulu: Played for Laughs. The film contains over 10 minutes of purely a young Prince William (yes, that Prince William) and a young South African girl borderline torturing the antagonist couple in a series of increasingly dangerous traps. At some point they make the man believe he's dead, only to get him to sit in a tub filled with highly flammable liquid and offer him a cigarette. While they do both get permanently injured to some extent (especially the man, who suffers major burns), they would have certainly been dead if not for the partially played Amusing Injuries trope.
  • You're Next, a film that can be described as the R-rated horror movie remake of Home Alone, has Erin deploying a bunch of traps like this against the intruders attacking the family gathering.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In one episode of Clarissa Explains It All, Clarissa and Ferguson are home alone while their parents are on a date night. Naturally, there is a freak thunderstorm which knocks out the power and the phones. When they think someone is trying to break into the house Ferguson sets up a series of improvised traps that hinder the burglar. Unfortunately the lights come back on at that moment revealing the intruder to be their dad.
  • Comedy series Cousin Skeeter had an episode where the main characters worked in a toy store that was later robbed by a couple criminals. They use the toys to fight them off.
  • In an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show, while Rob is away Laura watches a scary movie on TV and is afraid that someone will break into the house. Milly comes over and they set booby-traps at the front door, etc., so that whoever might break in will make a loud noise so they can bean him with a baseball bat. Naturally, Rob comes home earlier than expected and trips the homemade alarm.
  • Played very darkly in an episode of Lie to Me where a bereaved can only bitterly recount a Show Within a Show with imitable shenanigans by a monkey who would set traps around its house, which led to the real death of a family member at something like roller skates or marbles accordingly imitated.
  • Part of Kamala's plan in Ms. Marvel (2022) to stall for time is to set up traps to keep Damage Control busy. It works at first until Damage Control gets serious.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • In a Falls Count Anywhere match in 2010, Chavo Guerrero Jr. takes on Hornswoggle. The match ends in the hallways backstage with a paint can from an unknown source hitting Chavo in the face and knocking him out, allowing Hornswoggle to easily pick up the victory. Macaulay Culkin even makes a cameo appearance.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The episode "Home Alone Sweep" from Sooty and Co has Sweep left home alone. He hears sounds outside and starts setting traps for the burglars. However, it turns out that the 'burglar' was actually Matthew, who ends up falling into all of his traps.

    Video Games 
  • Alone in the Dark 2: During the part you play as Grace you must put in play several traps against the zombies, since you can't attack them directly.
  • Tecmo's Deception series is a Bloodier and Gorier example of this.
  • Trapt is about a young woman hiding out in her family's castle, while its inhabiting demon gives her the power to set various spiky traps to murder invaders.

    Web Videos 
  • In Brandon Rogers "Stuff & Sam" series, one episode has the main character getting a bunch of Home Alone traps in a house to drive people away from it. This is deconstructed when it's revealed that the traps left the entire family gravely injured, of course, this is player for laughs.
  • CollegeHumor's Home Alone parody series ends with the writers setting up an elaborate series of traps for the robbers, only for them to come in by a different entrance than they were expecting and bypass the gauntlet. In the ensuing panic the writers run around accidentally getting maimed and killed by their own traps, as the appalled but unharmed robbers try to reassure them that they're not murderers.
  • The heavy amount of Nineties kids' films following the lead of Home Alone was lampshaded in The Nostalgia Critic's review of the film Blank Check, when the Critic pulls out a list of cliches that appear in both movies when the climax happens:
    Critic: Let's get marking!
    Impractical traps filled by unimaginably stupid villains (the Big Bad being crammed into an American Gladiators-style human roling ball by the Kid Hero) — check!
    Gratuitous shot to the crotch resulting in cartoony sound effect (The Dragon being hit in the crotch by a baseball with a "thunk!" sound) — check!
    Unfunny dialogue hoping to be turned into an obnoxious catch phrase (Kid Hero doing a hammy "that's gotta huuuurrrttt!" in response to the villains getting hurt) — check!
    Oh, will the hilarious moments ever stop... ripping off other hilarious moments?

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series: The episode "I've Got Batman In My Basement" has Batman, well, stuck in the basement of a kid's house while he recuperates from injuries taken while fighting the Penguin. The final act of the story has the Penguin and his goons finding the house and going in, forcing the kid and his friends to improvise a defense using the contents of the Bat-Belt (and still almost getting killed until Batman wakes up and pulls a "Big Damn Heroes" moment). Interestingly, this was one of the episodes that the entire production team (from Timm himself down to the animators) hated to work on the most.
  • In Clarence, Clarence, Jeff and Sumo set traps after being scared by a show about burglars. Chad comes to the house looking for some backstage passes he left in the house. In a variation of the trope, Clarence recognizes Chad and the kids have to trigger the traps on themselves to keep Chad from being hurt. It ''almost' works.
  • Parodied in a cutaway gag in the Family Guy episode "Christmas Guy", showing what would happen if the robbers in the trope namer were smart, namely not slipping on toy cars and not holding onto a burning hot door handle. The results aren't pretty.
  • In the HouseBroken episode "Who's Having A Merry Trashmas?" Honey and Chief, with the help of Raccoon, tried to use these with who they thought was a burglar breaking into the house (it was just a dog sitter checking on them while Jill was away)
  • Legends of Chima: In "Fired Up!", Flinx and G'Loona fight back against the Ice Tribes trying to steal a Chi hoard in the Gorilla Forest using the environment as traps.
  • The Little Mermaid: An episode did this. Ariel was grounded (or "beached") at the palace while Triton was away, and had to stop two saltwater crocodile thieves from looting the palace.
  • Mr. Bogus:
    • In the first act of the episode "Shop Around the Clock", Bogus sets up a series of tactics and scenarios in order to stop Jake and Butch from stealing a priceless crown from the department store. These include controlling a pair of fishing pants, dressing himself up as a conductor to use music instruments to attack Butch, and controlling a fisherman dummy to chase away the two baddies.
    • Used again in the first act of the episode "Bogunda, Bogetta & Bogus", this time in the Anybody residence when Jake and Butch return. This time, Bogus is able to keep them deterred by firing light bulbs from a lamp, using a toy mouse to grab them on the nose, and using his shadow projected on the wall to scare them out of the house.
  • My Little Pony Tales: In "The Tea Party", the seven girl ponies have been using an abandoned house for their club meetings. When they discover a group of other ponies stealing the furniture, they booby trap it to deter the thieves from going inside. However, they later discover the "thieves" are actually a family who have been fixing up the place since they would like to move in. The girls, feeling bad about what they have done, help them work on the house.
  • Parodied twice in Robot Chicken:
    • Michael Myers and the Wet Bandits end up switching targets from their respective movies. The bandits end up terrified before dying from Laurie's traps while Myers is completely implacable to Kevin's traps before cornering and strangling him.
    • Another sketch has Kevin set the traps up and go to bed, thinking he'll be safe. When things start to go wrong, the chain of events ends with Kevin killed by his own traps.
  • A regular occurance on Scooby-Doo after a Let's Split Up, Gang! when Scooby and Shaggy are on the run from the monster of the week, then set up some kind of elaborate scenario in order to confuse the monster. Notable, in that while the scenarios tend to never work as planned, they break in manners that still end up catching the bad guy.
    • Done almost literally in an episode of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, where Shaggy & Scooby and the gang must defend Shaggy's house and little sister from intruders with nothing but courage and improvised traps. Also justified at first for even though Shaggy's dad is the chief of police they can't call him since the phones are dead. They end up improvising a Bat Signal in order to summon the police.
    • Special mention has to go to the Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated incarnation of Fred, who loves Traps as much as Daphne. This time the world exists in a universe where building traps is a hobby of import enough to warrant a magazine devoted to them and has notable celebrities in the field of building traps... and Fred is very much on track to become one. While Fred does act as the trap builder in almost every incarnation of the character, it's very notable in that this version turns the dial up to 11, rips it off, and then builds a trap for a dial that goes to 12 and that these traps eschew the franchises' typical humor by working as intended from the outset without losing their Rupegoldberg nature.
  • The Simpsons:
    • A Discussed Trope (and giving a Shout-Out to the Trope Namer) yet averted on the episode "Homer Badman". Homer wants to leave the kids alone to go to a candy convention, only for an understandably horrified Marge to say no and call the babysitting service—which sets up the rest of the episode's plot.
    • Played straight on the earlier episode "Some Enchanted Evening", where the Simpsons kids are left with a Babysitter from Hell (a serial, Springfield's Most Wanted-caliber thief called "The Babysitting Bandit") while Homer and Marge are out celebrating their anniversary and they knock her out.
    • In "Marge on the Lam", Homer decides to go out in the town on his own (after Marge left with Ruth). When Lisa suggests he should hire a babysitter, Homer thinks the kids should be alone so when any robbers come it'll be "a very humorous and entertaining situation", using the movie as an example.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: In the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episode "Tails in Charge", Tails sets traps for Scratch and Grounder to get back at them for turning Sonic to stone.
  • In one episode of Goof Troop, Pete becomes afraid of burglars, so he buys a fancy security system. Max wants Goofy to do the same thing, but Goofy refuses and installs a homemade "security system" consisting of traps. Unfortunately for Pete, the burglars are the same people that sold him the security system, so when they go to rob his house they just hit the Override Button and turn it off. Max and PJ end up luring the burglars to Max and Goofy's house and stopping them using Goofy's traps.


Video Example(s):


Home Alone- Prep for Battle

Kevin turns his house into a death trap, to the intense tunes of "Carol of the Bells."

How well does it match the trope?

5 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / ChaosOfTheBells

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