The picture Kevin finds of "Buzz's girlfriend" was a picture of a boy made up to look like a girl because Chris Columbus thought it would be too cruel to make fun of a girl like that. The boy that was used in the photo was the art director's son.
The movie that Kevin watches on video tape is not a real film, but footage specially created. It was called "Angels With Filthy Souls." Along with other similar era references in the movie, this is a play upon the movie Angels with Dirty Faces (1938) starring James Cagney.
Daniel Stern agreed to have the tarantula put on his face for exactly one take. He had to mime screaming because the noise would have scared the spider, and the scream was dubbed in later. Macaulay Culkin also had a hand double for close-up shots of Kevin handling the spider.
John Candy filmed his part in only one day, albeit a twenty-three-hour day. The story about having once forgotten his son at a funeral home was entirely improvised. His part is obviously inspired by the character he played in Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) also written by John Hughes.
The car that ''Santa'' (the guy Kevin talks to about getting his family back) starts before it stalls out is a 1980 Honda Civic hatchback. It really did stall on camera as the actor was driving it away.
The movie is considered a traditional Christmas movie in Poland. It has aired on national T.V. during prime-time Christmas season every year since 1990. In 2011 the movie aired on December twenty-third with an audience of over five million, making it the most popular show aired during the Christmas season in Poland.
According to Chris Columbus during an interview with Alec Baldwin on Baldwin's podcast Here's the Thing, John Heard was unhappy about working on the film, feeling that the film was going to be terrible. However, upon seeing the finished film and its subsequent success, Heard apologized to Columbus when they were shooting his scenes on the film's sequel, having broken character before his first take to tell Columbus. The director says he still had footage of Heard's apology on video-tape.
The sled which Kevin uses when flying down the stairs and into the garden, which is next to the T.V. when Kevin is watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966), is in Chris Columbus' office. It was signed by the entire cast.
When Mitch Murphy (Jeffrey Wiseman) is asking questions to the airport driver who is loading the luggage, he clearly lips the dialogue, "gee kid I don't know, hit the road" at the same time as the driver.
There is a legend that Elvis Presley (who died in 1977) makes a cameo in this movie. Many of those who believe that Elvis is still alive maintain that the heavily bearded man standing in the background of the scene where Mrs. McCallister is shouting at the desk clerk (just before she meets John Candy) is Elvis.
Chris Columbus had story-boarded a few scenes in which Kevin would have a dream where the house would come to life. One included the evil furnace in the basement, which would chase him to the stairs, and another which several toy nut-crackers would come to life along with the house. The scenes, however, would have been too expensive on such a tight budget and the ideas were dropped.
Both Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern felt indifferent about the film's potential during shooting, so they intentionally gave over-the-top performances; neither one of them believing the film would become a massive success.
Although the part was written especially for Macaulay Culkin by John Hughes, several hundred other boys were auditioned by director Chris Columbus just because he wanted to confirm that Culkin was the right choice.
During the family pizza-eating scene, when the family is cleaning up Kevin and Buzz's milk mess, Peter can be seen cleaning up the milk and throwing away red napkins. In the pile of napkins thrown in the trash can, Kevin's name can be seen on an airline ticket that's mistakenly thrown away.
Several of Chris Columbus's family members make cameos in the film: His mother-in-law and his then-infant daughter Eleanor Columbus are both passengers on the plane. His wife Monica Devereux-Columbus is a stewardess and his father-in-law plays the police officer who gives the line "tell them to count their kids again."
According to Chris Columbus, Kevin Nordine did all the effects for the film in his parent's basement in Chicago, by drawing all the effects onto the film. He also did the effects for only a few hundred dollars at a time.
Director Chris Columbus envisioned a scene in which the furnace came to life, gets up on all fours and chases Kevin to the stairs. The scene would have cost over a million dollars so it was trimmed down to the furnace simply lighting up and groaning Kevin's name.
John Williams' score for the film is a song called "Somewhere In My Memory." It's used mainly as sound-track for both Home Alone films; however, he did a couple different recordings of the song itself. The full song done with vocals is on the Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) music track with Bette Midler.
When the McCallisters are running through the Paris airport towards the arrivals section, Uncle Rob and his family can be briefly glimpsed on the other side of the glass doors holding a large, paper "Welcome" sign. Originally, there was a scene (featured on D.V.D./Blu-ray) with the McCallisters ignoring the sign, and tearing it in half by running right through it, but it was cut from the film.
Many of the frames that focus on Kevin in the beginning of the film are shot from above his head, making him seem small and helpless. At the end of the film, Kevin is mostly shot from below, making him seem taller and more confident.
To promote a stronger Christmas feel, red and green are major reoccurring colours throughout the movie, appearing quite conspicuously in almost every scene. This includes furniture, clothing, food containers and all wallpaper to name a few.
Joe Pesci and Catherine O'Hara also appeared in Betsy's Wedding together, released earlier in the year, where they played a married couple. That film starred Molly Ringwald, who was frequently directed by John Hughes, the writer of Home Alone.
The "Oh-Kay Plumbing" van that Harry and Marv drive has a slogan that says "Your flood control experts". This is funny because they call themselves the Wet Bandits, and leave the water running after robbing houses.
From 1993 to 1996 and again in 1998, N.B.C. aired 'Home Alone' during the 8/7c time slot on Thanksgiving evening as part of their holiday promotion (Jurassic Park (1993) aired in its place in 1997 and 'Home Alone' aired on N.B.C. a week before Christmas). The film would air on N.B.C. until 1999, in which it aired the Sunday after the Thanksgiving week-end in 1999, in which it was the last time it aired on N.B.C. The film also aired on Thanksgiving for twenty-four hours on F.X. in 2009.
At the beginning of production, Bruce Broughton was attached as the original composer, having previously worked with Chris Columbus on 'Young Sherlock Holmes'. The first printing of the posters had his name on them.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Chris Columbus wanted the booby-trap with Marv getting hit in the face with a household object sent down the laundry chute, but he couldn't think of one to use, so his brother-in-law suggested a clothes-iron.
The McAllister door-knob burn on Pesci's character at the beginning of the house raid scene is an homage to the main poster used to advertise Fritz Lang's 'M' (1931). This poster is on the I.M.D.B. page for the movie.