How to Protect Your Home from Holiday Prowlers (The Kevin McCallister Way)

The holidays are a time for families, gift-giving, and general peace on Earth. Unfortunately, it’s also a time of high crime rates, robberies, and evil-doers who take advantage of the innocent. With all the money being spent at the malls, and how often people leave their own homes during the holidays, these safe havens are often a target for prowlers. Just ask the Wet Bandits, who ran a mostly-successful crime spree in Chicago in the early 1990s, before they were thwarted by eight-year-old Kevin McCallister.

However, times are tough, and the economy still isn’t what it should be. Not everyone can afford a new-fangled security system…or even an old-fangled security system that the McCallisters should have had on their home in 1990. There are still plenty of ways to protect your home from prowlers this year, using found items, and a dose of cleverness.

1. Take precautions

Just because someone shows up at your house wearing a policeman’s uniform does not mean that guy is a real policeman. So much can be prevented by not disclosing your entire vacation schedule and home security system to this potential robber…especially if your plan to protect your home is to keep the lights on a timer and simply lock the doors. Oh, and be extra-cautious if the cop has a gold tooth because Hollywood teaches us that only bad guys and pirates have those.

2. Exercise your second amendment right

Even if you live in a town where firearms are forbidden, it always helps to keep a pump-action BB gun lying around as your first line of defense against robbers, action figures and spatulas.

3. Stock up on firecrackers and old gangster films

If the BB gun fails, bring out the big guns…or at least the appearance of big guns. Get your grubby paws on an old copy of the classic gangster film Angels with Filthy Souls and play the assassination sequences on a loop. Add a dose of realism to the event by setting off firecrackers in a soup pan so would-be intruders will think they’re actually being shot at.

4. Fight fire with fire…and ice

Any military expert will tell you the best way to protect a fortress is to establish a perimeter and defend it. Prevent crooks from breaching your perimeter by icing the stairs and heating the doorknobs. If they manage to get past these, a well-placed blowtorch aimed at head-level should send them running…if they’re smart.

5. Lay traps with sharp objects

The average suburban home is an arsenal of dangerous objects. You don’t need knives, blades, and saws (though those can help in a pinch as well). Simple things like glass Christmas ornaments under the window or heavy-duty nails poking out of the stairs will do the trick. Of course, this only works if you can convince the intruders to take off their shoes first, so coat the first four or five stairs in your cellar with tar. This will cause both shoes and socks to stick fast, leaving the intruder barefoot and vulnerable.

6. Deploy heavy objects

If the intruders manage to breach your perimeter and make it into the house, it’s time to bring the blunt pain. Heavy objects like steam irons and paint cans make ideal projectiles to crack a few skulls.

7. Utilize nature

Some folks keep a family dog as both a pet and a security system, and that will work. But if you don’t want to deal with midnight walks and puddles on the carpet, invest in some creepy crawly creatures to tap into the phobias of your enemy. Kevin McCallister used a tarantula, but snakes, rats. and Madagascar hissing cockroaches are always other options.

8. Engage in psychological warfare

No military objective is entirely successful without undermining the morale of your enemy. Psychological warfare is an essential element in battle, and it can be employed in the protection of your house during the holidays. Whether this involves tarring and feathering any intruders or laying out some toy cars so they fall on their asses, you can reduce them to a deep state of emotional distress.

9. Always have an exit strategy

Any good horror movie demonstrates what a terrible idea it is to always run upstairs for safety. As advantageous as the higher ground can be on a battlefield, it can leave you trapped and exposed in a house or other building. So, if you retreat to the attic or the roof, always have an escape route planned, such as a zip line made of braided rope and old bicycle handlebars. This is particularly effective because once you escape, you can scorch the route by cutting the line, preferably when your enemy is trying to use it to catch you.

Gird your loins and learn more violent holiday tactics with the rest of the entries in our 2011 Holiday Survival Guide.

Kevin Carr crawled from the primordial ooze in the early 1970s. He grew up watching movies to the point of irritation for his friends and was a font of useless movie knowledge until he decided to put that knowledge to good use. Now, Kevin is a nationally syndicated critic, heard on dozens of radio stations around the country, and his reviews appear in a variety of online outlets. Kevin is also a proud member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA).

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