This year’s gingerbread party was a small but very fun year. The kids are getting older and are much more interested in decorating their houses. It is so fun to see their personalities come out in what they create.
The kids that come to our parties are awesome about eating fruit and veggies. So I don’t usually worry about what I create for the meal because if I have out fruit, veggies and cheese and sausage usually the kids are happy to eat just that.
- Apple wreath with cranberry dip
- Broccoli tree and ranch (the tree was made with a craft foam cone form wrapped in aluminum foil and toothpicks to attach the broccoli. The tomatoes were just pushed in broccoli gaps)
- Pigs in a blanket wreath with ketchup (we used the strip crescent rolls, and we should have made 2 wreaths these things went like hot cakes!)
- Olaf punch (1 lg bottle blue Hawaiian punch, 1 two liter bottle 50 / 50 or squirt and done!)
Last year we did a soup bar with 4 different soups and it was a huge hit. And on top of that the soups were all made the day before! So on the day of the party they just had to be warmed up in the crock pots! PERFECT!
- Corn and Chorizo Chowder
- Cheeseburger soup
- Chicken Noodle soup
The other great thing about gingerbread parties is with all the decorating candy about I DO NOT make any dessert. Trust me on this, no one needs more sugar after this party!
I forgot to get a before picture of the set up. But after 20 years of hosting this party (yes I did just say that – gulp) it’s almost worked to a science. Oh and yes, that also means that for a VERY long time this party was attended mostly by adults. Yep! Gingerbread houses aren’t just for kids ya know!
Pre-Party set up:
- Disposable table cloths on the table and tape it to the table in 4 spots so it doesn’t slip off.
- Set up each kind of candy in a bowl or a glad storage container. I usually have 2 containers per candy, and set on container on each edge of the table.
- Set out some butter knives and small plates for cutting the gingerbread to size
- Mix the royal frosting (I skip the raw eggs and use meringue powder, expensive yes, but so much easier). You will want your frosting a LITTLE on the loose side. Too stiff and you won’t be able to pipe it, too loose and the candy will fall off.
- Put the frosting in several quart sized zip top freezer bags. The bags keep the frosting from drying out and its easier for kids to use than piping bags. I usually do one bag for every 2 people with a few spares. When everyone is ready to decorate just snip off a little (very little) bit of the corner for piping.
- House bases can either be pieces of cardboard covered in foil or cake boards. I buy 1/2 sheets and cut them down. The bakery in my local grocery was happy to sell them to me for a few cents.
- House form is milk or cream containers. We wash out and save the containers throughout the year just for this party. We use clear packing tape to mount the house form to the base. The packing tape works much better than Scotch tape you use for presents.
- Gingerbread – GRAHAM CRACKERS!! That’s right no baking required. After all the fun is in the decorating.
- Have parents help the kids cut the graham crackers to fit the house
- Kids / parents use the royal frosting as cement to attach the graham crackers.
- For younger kids have the parents frost a portion of the house or yard and let the youngster decorate as desired.
- For older kids they can do this all themselves. N and his buddies all turned 7 this year and this was the 1st year they did the frosting portion themselves.
Some different candies / food that work well:
- Gumdrop wreaths
- Gumdrop bells
- Gummy bears
- Hersey kisses (with or without the foil)
- Snow caps
- Red thin liquorice
- Small candy canes
- Brach’s flower candy
- Small foil wrapped Santa
- Stick pretzels
- Star peppermints
- Life savers
- Sugar Ice cream cones
- Spearmint leaves
- Gummy penguins
- Necco wafers
- Ribbon candy
- Small suckers
- Gingerbread man cookies
After everyone is done decorating is when that disposable table cloth comes into play. Remove all the candy you want to save and any plates & silverware. Untape the table cloth and carefully roll it up with ALL THE MESS INSIDE!!!! A quick pass with the vacuum on the floor and viola! The mess is gone!
Ms M is still VERY into dinosaurs and neither she or I could pass up an idea from a friend to include a dino eating the house. However M upped the anti and included a dino being hatched from an egg as well.
There were some other funny features as well. The gingerbread man is running away before he could get eaten. And Santa is hiding at the back of the house hoping to make a quick get away.
Several different suggestions were made to N: Make a train, make a roundhouse. But, no, he already had his house all designed in his mind. He wanted a house with an attached garage with the garage door open. To you and I this may just look like a pile o’candy, but to N each piece is there for a purpose. The pretzels in the center of the house are actual a wood pile. Just to the left are stairs to get to the top of the wood pile.
The large with thing on the top of the house is the chimney.I hope that you will host a gingerbread party too. They really are a ton of fun!!