For people of a certain age, Home Alone is one of the quintessential holiday classics that is watched at least once every Christmas. We love to watch Kevin McCallister take on the demented, yet moronic Harry and Marv, aka, “The Wet Bandits,” but watch it enough times and you’ll start asking yourself some pretty big questions. One of the biggest questions that is left unanswered in the film and its sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, is whether or not Kevin’s parents ever find out about the attempted burglary.
Although director, Chris Columbus, and screenwriter, John Hughes, never explicitly reveal if the McCallisters ever found out about their son’s elaborate booby traps or the criminals they were built to thwart, there are clues hidden throughout the 1990 Christmas classic that may answer the question that’s on everyone’s mind. Well, these clues may answer all the questions except for why the family still puts up with Uncle Frank, but that’s another story entirely.
Let’s take a look at just a few of the hidden clues and observations that may help us come to a satisfying conclusion.
Why Kevin McCallister's Parents Likely Knew About The Attempted Burglary
There are quite a few reasons why we should believe that Kevin’s parents know about everything that happened at their house while they took a trip to Paris over Christmas.
First, there’s the fact that just about every house on their street was hit by “The Wet Bandits” at some point or another during over the holiday, especially the neighbor whose house was shown partially flooded at the film’s climax. Also, for the number of crimes they committed and their calling card, Marv and Harry would have been all over the local news, which would have brought more attention to the whole situation.
Wouldn’t Peter and Kate McCallister become suspicious if their house was the only one left untouched while others were robbed of all value? We would hope so, especially when they already notified the cops that they had forgotten their son at home while they traveled across the Atlantic Ocean. This brings us to our second point.
The police would have eventually come to the house to either check if the McCallisters’ house was burglarized or if Kevin noticed anything while he was left home alone. If not for the burglaries, they certainly would have swung by to follow up on the whole part where they left their child alone for the better part of a week.
And finally, the Little Nero’s driver would have at more than likely notified the police about the shootout that he heard when Kevin played the scene from Angels with Filthy Souls during the pizza delivery scene.
All three of these observations bring one critical issue to light in the film: is there no followup from the police, neighbors, parents, anyone in this film? More on that below.
Why Kevin McCallister's Parents Likely Did Not Know About The Attempted Burglary
Although there are pretty obvious reasons why the McCallisters would have known about everything that happened at their house while they were gone, we have to remember that Peter and Kate aren’t the most observant or considerate parents in the history of Christmas movies.
From the very beginning of the film, we see that Kevin’s parents are at best a little preoccupied and at worst terrible people who have no business raising a child, let alone five. They don’t seem to worried about the police officer with a gold tooth asking all sorts of questions, Peter doesn’t seem to worried about paying for the pizza, Kate is unnecessarily hostile to her young son, and there’s one other thing… they leave their child home alone. Who does that? The McCallisters, I guess.
People will say that there are easy-to-miss clues throughout the opening minutes of film that explain how and why the McCallisters forgot Kevin when they were rushing off to the airport. There’s the whole part where Peter accidentally throws away his son’s passport and plane ticket and then there’s the scene where Kevin had to pack his own bag. Both of those examples can be used to back up the claim that Peter and Kate aren’t the worst parents, but why didn’t they check the passports at the airport?
Again, if the McCallisters can miss the tell-tale signs that they left one of the children home while they traveled halfway across the globe, it’s safe to say they could fail to realize their house was the sign of a major crime, especially when we consider the next piece of information.
At the end of the film, the McCallisters come home to a spotless house considering that it was the scene of a major siege not even 12 hours prior. The house is in even better condition at the conclusion of the film than it is at the beginning. No more clothes strewn about, no more trash, nothing. And that’s all thanks to Kevin, who managed to clean up and remove all evidence from the scene of the crime.
The cans of paint that nearly killed Marv and Harry? We assume brought back to the garage. How about those feathers that welcomed Harry in the dining room? Gone as well. What about all of the broken glass, presents, and other household items. Cleaned up in remarkable fashion. Kevin only neglected to miss two pieces of evidence in the clean sweep of his family’s home - Buzz’s room and Harry’s gold tooth that Peter finds in the entryway.
And finally, there’s the fact that none of it is mentioned in the rest of the film or the sequel. Sure, the “Wet Bandits,” now going by the “Sticky Bandits” moniker remember what happened when they tried to break into an unassuming home in the suburbs of Chicago, but none of the other characters outside of Kevin even references the final act of Home Alone. In Home Alone 2, it never comes up when Peter and Kate admit they left Kevin home alone the year before.
So, which is it? Do the McCallisters know that their house was the scene of an attempted burglary or are they oblivious to that like they are to everything else that happens in the movie?
Although the film and its sequel never answer the question outright, it’s safe to assume that Peter and Kate McCallister never find out about the attempted burglary that took place their home. They’re oblivious to the world around them, Kevin did a tremendous job of hiding all evidence of the break-in and attack on the crooks, and the whole incident is never mentioned again.
Now that we have put an end to that, there’s only one question that remains - why is Uncle Frank such a jerk?
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Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop barking at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.