It’s a holiday movie classic. A kid from a large family is stranded home alone for Christmas while his family leaves for a lavish vacation in Paris. Meanwhile, seasoned burglars are casing his home daily, looking for the perfect opportunity to strike. The kid decides to beat the burglars at their own game and booby traps his home on the night of the burglary. The burglars are left bloodied and bruised, the boy and his family are reunited, and everyone feels warm and fuzzy.

What exactly went into all those booby traps and tricks? Here’s exactly what you’ll need to construct your own “Home Alone” security system. All prices for supplies were acquired on Home Depot and Walmart’s websites along with Google Shopping and are rounded up to the nearest dollar.

Supplies

  • Model train set—$260
  • Mannequin (2x)—$200
  • Michael Jordan cutout—$500, now a collectible
  • Dancing animatron— $210
  • BB gun—$22
  • BB gun pellets—$4
  • Garden hose—$26
  • Light bulb and chain—$2
  • Iron—$17
  • Electric charcoal starter—$13
  • 5-gallon bucket of roofing tar—$42
  • Nails—$4
  • Blowtorch—$26
  • Nylon rope—$12
  • Screw hooks—$7
  • Saran wrap—$3
  • Vaseline—$4
  • Floor fan—$29
  • Goose down filling—$37
  • Glass Christmas ornaments—$27
  • Matchbox cars (100x)—$72
  • Paint can (2x)—$60
  • Manila rope—$110
  • Hedge shears—$23
  • Coat hangers—$6

TOTAL COST: $1,716

The Breakdown

You might as well trade in all of your family’s Christmas presents this year if you want to put together an authentic “Home Alone” security system. The most expensive part of little Kevin McCallister’s elaborate plan involves the scene where burglars Marv and Harry pull up to what they think is an empty house, only to be surprised by the sights and sounds of a festive holiday party. Little do they know that Kevin is controlling a host of mannequins and blasting Christmas music while a model train rolls around a cardboard cutout of Michael Jordan. The house looks lively, but Kevin is the only one home.

The rest of the supplies involve the final showdown. Finally realizing that Kevin is home alone, Marv and Harry show up to break into the house. To their surprise, Kevin has outfitted the house with slippery staircases, a heated doorknob, and a trip-activated blow torch among other things

Kids, do not try this at home.

Keep in mind that the general cost of supplies doesn’t account for the items you may already have around the house. You’ll also need to plan for assembly time. Taking the time to buy the items is one thing, but you’re going to spend more than just one weekend putting it all together. Most rational people will probably decide that it’s simply not worth the trouble.

What to Do

Hopefully, you won’t do any of this. The idea of setting up legitimate booby traps for potential burglars is a lawsuit waiting to happen, and honestly, we don’t recommend this route at all. It’s definitely a better plan in theory, than in actual practice.

We’ll say it again: don’t try this at home.

From a monetary perspective, it’s still ideal to look into a reputable home security company. Winter is the time of year where burglaries happen the most frequently and you don’t want to be another victim. You can find a quality home security systems for as little as $20/month with top-rated companies, and none of them require you to string rope around the house or dangle paint cans from the ceiling. To further put this in perspective, a plan at this price would equal over seven years of professional monitoring for the same price as the “Home Alone” system.

If you want the home of the future, many home security companies are offering smart home features as well. This includes systems that function with remote-activated locks, lights, and garage doors. You’ll have to pay a higher amount per month, but it still beats the “Home Alone” system by a long shot. If it’s something you’d want to look into, contact your desired company representative and ask what they have to offer.

For a list of some of the best home security companies in the industry, click here.