Inspired by the story of Hansel and Gretel, who nibbled at the witch’s candy-covered gingerbread house, German bakers created miniature houses from the already popular lebkuchen (gingerbread). Artists were employed to decorate the houses, which became particularly popular during Christmas.
The tradition crossed the ocean with the German immigration wave that began in 1820. But it’s only in recent years that we’ve seen gingerbread houses for Halloween.
Halloween Gingerbread House Kits
Halloween gingerbread houses are available in easy-to-assemble kits; Those who just want to decorate can buy pre-assembled houses.
This week, we tasted two different brands. The Wilton kit we tried was a Victorian mansion—not particularly haunted based on the contents of the kit, but you can add your own touches.
More important than the accoutrements in the kit, the gingerbread was delicious. We tried another brand’s gingerbread house kit that was full of Halloween-themed decorations: candy ghosts, candy corn, a spider, black cat and tombstone. But the gingerbread was flavorless, and we declined to take a second bite.
The assembled Wilton gingerbread house measures 6 inches wide by 3.5 inches deep by 9.5 inches high. It is available at Michael’s Stores and Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores. You can find it online at Amazon.com.
If you want to buy one online, here’s a haunted gingerbread house with all of the aforementioned Halloween decorations. We haven’t tasted it. If you buy one, please send us your opinion on the gingerbread.
ASSEMBLY TIP: Some of our gingerbread pieces arrived cracked. This is a relatively common occurrence, but not a disaster. The same royal icing you make to decorate the house is a good mortar to “glue” the pieces together.
Start A Family Tradition
Decorating a gingerbread house is a family activity that can be carried through the generations. Start the tradition and take a photo of the finished house and the participants. See how the skill at decorating changes from year to year.
If you don’t have kids but want the tradition, invite your friends to an annual Halloween tea party with the gingerbread house as the centerpiece. Here are tea party ideas for every month of the year.
Gingerbread Bars With Cream Cheese Frosting. For Halloween, press a piece of candy corn into the top of each piece. Recipe.
Gingerbread Whoopie Pies. For Halloween, leave off the crushed peppermint candy. Recipe.
Ginger Snaps. You can make these round cookies and add Halloween decorations: black and orange royal icing stripes, candy spiders, candy corn, etc. Recipe.