Don’t Try This at Home

It’s a Christmas miracle that Harry and Marv survived Home Alone. Photo provided by

It’s a Christmas miracle that Harry and Marv survived Home Alone. Photo provided by

Lianys Olmeda, Staff Writer

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Home Alone is one of the most beloved Christmas movies of all time. Almost everyone has seen Kevin McCallister execute ingenious traps used to defend himself and his home from bandits. But how would these traps work in the real world? Well let’s just say it wouldn’t be pretty. Vsauce’s Jake Roper put some of the movie’s most famous traps to the test and found some disturbing results.

One of the most memorable traps that Kevin McCallister sets up to ward off the bandits is the red-hot door knob. He heats up the doorknob in the inside of the house enough to make the doorknob on the outside glow from the heat, thus burning the intruders badly when they try to open the door. Roper recreated this trap and found some very different results. The doorknob on Kevin’s side was insanely hot, but since the inside of the door was made of wood, it caught on fire before it was able to transmit any significant heat to the doorknob facing the bandits. Thus, this trap would prove more dangerous for Kevin than anyone else.

Another one of the most famous traps is the swinging paint can. As the burglars Harry and Marv make their way up the stairs of Kevin’s house, the latter sets paint cans swinging towards them and hits them both in the face. This already looked painful enough in the movie, but in reality, it’s even worse…way worse. A standard gallon of paint weighs approximately thirteen pounds, which thrown with momentum from the top of the stairs as Kevin does, would result in a paint can hitting your face at twenty miles per hour. According to mechanical engineer Mark Rober, this would result in a “100% chance that you would get knocked out and a 42% chance that your skull would crack.” Needless to say, when Roper recreated this trap with a ballistics dummy, the effects were devastating.

Finally, it’s safe to say that Harry and Marv must have been super humans to endure all the physical trauma that Kevin put them through. Thus, if you watch this Christmas classic from a realistic standpoint, it no longer seems so light-hearted. These dangerous traps are best left on the movie screen. Don’t try these at home, especially not home alone.


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