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Of Course It's Perfectly Fine to Build a Gingerbread House for Halloween

Williams-Sonoma's vision of a Halloween house.
Williams-Sonoma's vision of a Halloween house.
Photo courtesy williams-sonoma.com

In case you can't tell, I really like Halloween. Each year I love to try out Halloween projects (well, some of them are actually old, like bobbing for apples, but you get the point) as a way of vetting potentially permanent traditions. Such is how I came to discover that, yes, I would make a graveyard cake each year, and no, eyeball cookies do not taste good.

If you think my Halloween tradition evaluation system is byzantine, you should see what happens at Christmas.

Anyway, this year I decided to assemble a Halloween (gingerbreadesque) house. I know some are appalled by this perversion of a Christmas tradition, but I actually think in this case that the cross-pollination between holidays works. Inexpensive kits for these structures are available often at grocery stores, but a random offer of free shipping and a 20 percent discount led me to the good stuff at Wiliams-Sonoma.

My Halloween House kit came in ... a house.
My Halloween House kit came in ... a house.
Photo by Joanna O'Leary

When I mentioned to a few friends and my husband that I was planning to put together a Halloween house, every single one of them immediately reminded me of how much I suck at assembling Christmas gingerbread houses. They're right: My gingerbread houses always fall apart, even the one time I used a kit designed for "children aged 3 and under." But perhaps the magic of Halloween would prevail and I would experience success on the nth attempt.

Icing, walls, roof, and decor were included.
Icing, walls, roof, and decor were included.
Photo by Joanna O'Leary

The kit's instructions (oddly, in French as well as English) were fairly brief, short but sweet: Ice the edges of the walls, put 'em together, and adorn as you see fit. One important tip that I followed, thank God, was to assemble the house on the piece of cardboard included in the box. Doing so made the house much easier to rotate during the decoration phase.

 

I'm a bit suspicious of the gingerbread flavor of these structural components. Oh wait, they're supposed to be chocolate.
I'm a bit suspicious of the gingerbread flavor of these structural components. Oh wait, they're supposed to be chocolate.
Photo by Joanna O'Leary

Since I believe that most of my earlier edible architectural projects failed because I rushed through making the frame and didn't allow the icing to dry, I tried to work slowly. I also used a shit-ton of icing "glue" to adhere the pieces to one other. Once the house was assembled, I let it sit for 24 hours before resuming work.

I let my undecorated Halloween house stand overnight to make sure its frame was secure.
I let my undecorated Halloween house stand overnight to make sure its frame was secure.
Photo by Joanna O'Leary

Success! Well, at least by my low standards.

That gleaming white thing to the left of the house is a ghost.
That gleaming white thing to the left of the house is a ghost.
Photo by Joanna O'Leary

Okay, so my house does not look exactly like the one on the package. But it hasn't collapsed ... yet.


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