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.
John Candy filmed his part in only one day, albeit an extremely long 23-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 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.
The movie is considered a traditional Christmas movie in Poland. It has aired on national TV during prime time Christmas season every year since 1990. In 2011 the movie aired on December 23rd with an audience of over 5 million, making it the most popular show aired during the Christmas season in Poland. One of the reasons for this is because the movie was one of the first western productions aired in Poland after the fall of communism.
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. MacCallister is shouting at the desk clerk (just before she meets John Candy) is Elvis.
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.
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 right for the part.
Chris Columbus had storyboarded 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 nutcrackers 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.
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.
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 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 it's 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.
John Williams's score for the film is a song called "Somewhere In My Memory." It's used mainly as soundtrack 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 soundtrack with Bette Midler.
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.
From 1993 to 1996 and again in 1998, NBC 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 NBC a week before Christmas). The film would air on NBC until 1999, in which it aired the Sunday after Thanksgiving weekend in 1999, in which it was the last time it aired on NBC. The film also aired on Thanksgiving Day for 24 hours on FX in 2009.