Film-inspired Christmas prank goes unplanned

Christmas Vacation-inspired prank goes unplanned as firefighters are called to a New Jersey home after Clark Griswold mannequin hanging from the roof is assumed to be a real decorator

  • A decoration prank inspired by the 1989 film Christmas Vacation went awry after a local fire department was dispatched to the scene
  • New Jersey decorator Doug Peterson created a fake mannequin based on the film’s popular character Clark Griswold which he hung on the roof of his room
  • The prank mimicked the scene from the film where Griswold is hanging lights on his home before losing control of the ladder and dangling in the air
  • The fire department reportedly arrived at the scene as it was possibly assumed the mannequin had been a real life decorator calling for help 
  • Peterson has since posted the prank on his social media which has received more than four million views 

A New Jersey decorator – who created a fake Clark Griswold mannequin inspired by the 1989 holiday film Christmas Vacation – landed himself in hot water after a local fire department was called because of the prank.

The well-designed automated mannequin was created by decorator Doug Peterson, of Oceanport, who posted the prank on TikTok.

The mannequin was meant to resemble the popular Vacation series character Clark Griswold, played by Chevy Chase, who is portrayed as a fun-loving family man fixated on giving his family the perfect Christmas holiday. 

The decoration is inspired by a famous scene where Griswold is hanging Christmas lights before the ladder falls and he is trapped dangling from the roof as he calls his family for help. 

A decoration prank inspired by the 1989 film Christmas Vacation went viral as it resembled a famous scene with character Clark Griswold struggling to put his holiday lights on his home

A local fire department was reportedly called as it was possibly assumed the mannequin was a real life decorator stuck hanging from the roof of his home


The film’s main character Clark Griswold, played by Chevy Chase, is portrayed as a fun-loving family man trying to give his family the perfect Christmas. One of the more famous scenes involves Griswold attempting to put his lights up

Christmas is the best #funny #christmas #comedy Motion Activated Animatronics

Peterson, who constructed the mannequin himself, posted a video of the live-action figure mimicking the scene.

In another video, Peterson posted the local fire department passing by his home as they possibly assumed the mannequin was a real-life decorator shouting for help.

It is unclear if the fire department was part of the prank or if they were attempting to help out the fake decorator.

DailyMail.com reached out to Peterson for comment.

New Jersey decorator Doug Peterson constructed the figure himself by installing a motor system for his legs as well as assembling a sound system for his voice

Peterson added Griswold’s signature costume onto the mannequin and hung him from the edge of the roof in front of his home

Peterson has since posted a series of videos on the fake decoration, as it has received viral social media attention since it was posted.

He explained in a later video how the decoration was constructed in order to give it a realistic effect.

He had used a Michael Myers figure, from the 1978 film Halloween, as a base to create the Griswold mannequin. 

In order to create the effect, he used a motor system to get the legs to swing back and forth as well as adding in a sound machine and lights.

Griswold’s signature costume was then put on the mannequin and hung on the roof of the home.

A string of dangling lights and a fallen ladder were also added to resemble the iconic scene.     

Social media users have since delighted in the crafty prank after his first video of the decoration received more than four million views on TikTok. 

‘911 what’s your emergency? There’s a guy……nevermind, @user7932315895924 commented.

‘How many times have the cops been called about his house,’ @user9383762215540 commented.

‘Ha ha! As a 911 dispatcher I used to get calls every year about a house that hung a body for Halloween this is soooo much better,’ @Porcha commented.     

Social media users shared in Peterson’s humor over the outcome of the humorous realistic decoration 

This is also not the first time a Christmas Vacation decoration went wrong, after a Texas family pulled a similar prank on their neighbors in 2018.

The Heerlein family from Austin created a similar scene from the film which caused a passerby to assume someone was actually dangling off the roof. 

The elderly passerby, who was a retired veteran, attempted to save the figure which was then captured from the front of the home with NestCam video. 

He had also called out for help from other neighbors and local police were  dispatched to the scene.

The family’s nanny, who had been home at the time, then explained the prank to the officers.

The incident prompted the family to hang a sign reading ‘Clark G is part of our Christmas display please do not call 911.’

The family also gave the passerby an apology who let out a sigh of relief after he initially assumed the incident was real.  

A family from Austin, Texas previously created a similar decoration for their home in 2018

A male passerby was caught on NestCam attempting to safe the mannequin as he assumed it was a real life decorator clinging on the roof of his home

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