The Process of Choosing and Filming in the Home Alone House

Filming in the Home Alone House

If you’ve ever seen the classic Christmas movie Home Alone, you know that the house itself is a significant part of the movie’s appeal. There are a variety of great gags that absolutely would not have been possible without the Home Alone house’s specific structure. How did the filmmakers do it? It turns out they found a home in Winnetka, Illinois that fit their needs. Here’s what you need to know about the filmmakers’ vision for the house in Home Alone.

1. Room for Specific Physical Gags

One of the important things that John Hughes was looking for when choosing the home was a home that would stand up to the gags he had already written. As director Chris Columbus told Entertainment Weekly, “John [Hughes] had written very specific physical humor for the end of the film. And it was extremely important that the house fit the gags of the movie.” Although they would eventually add some elements to the home, John and Cynthia Abendshien’s home in Winnetka ended up being the right choice.

2. The Overarching Feeling of the House

It was also important that the home indicated a kind of “feeling” to the audience at home. Chris Columbus, in the same Entertainment Weekly interview, explained, “We needed to cast a house that would work for the stunts and also a house that was visually appealing and, if this makes sense, warm and menacing at the same time.” Expressing the appeal of the home, he stated, “It’s the kind of house if you were a kid, it would be fun to be left home alone.”

3. The Shooting Process

Initially, John and Cynthia Abendshien agreed to six weeks of shooting. However, the crew ended up having to work in the home for around four months, including overnight shoots. They also had to construct additional elements to the home, like a treehouse, specific wallpaper, and an entire outdoor staircase for Marv to fall down. John Abendshien noted with amazement to Vanity Fair, “They brought in a backhoe and dug up the property and put in fake steps and a fake door. And then after the shoot, they filled all that back in and resodded.”

4. Living with the Filmmakers

Even though there was an entire filmmaking crew in the house, the Abendshien family actually ended up living in the house throughout the filming process. John Abendshien noted that the crew “became like family” to them. It was a complicated process, and the couples’ daughter was only six when they were filming the movie, but John says he wouldn’t change a thing. “If faced with that decision back then, knowing what I know now, I would certainly do it, absolutely.”


The Home Alone house is now a cultural icon, and for good reason. If you’ve ever seen Home Alone, you almost certainly remember the house as much as anything else. The house in Home Alone is nothing if not ingrained in the minds of people who have seen the movie again and again. 

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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