Photo Credit: JACKIE ALPERS
Witches and Bats House
Ding dong, the witch is dead—oops, the house fell right on top of her!
Gingerbread Kit: Lauren Chattman, co-author of The Gingerbread Architect (Clarkson Potter), created this house using the No-Bake Halloween Haunted House Kit from Williams Sonoma ($24.95).
Tips: You don’t need to be an expert with a pastry bag. Use icing as glue to attach the candies to the house and cardboard base.
1) Use Andes Mints as bricks for the front façade of the house. Attach the mints, cut into 4 pieces each, before putting the house together.
2) Use a rolling pin to roll two green Chuckles flat and cut them to fit the doorway outlines. Attach the door pieces to the house and use two yellow M&Ms as doorknobs. For the stained glass windows, flatten gumdrops with a rolling pin and then cut them to fit the window outlines. The bat decorations above each window came with the kit.
3) A black Twizzler is a great way to show cracks in the façade. For those cracks, if the icing looks too messy, you can apply a bit of light corn syrup to the pieces with a toothpick and then arrange them on the front of the house, in the corner and underneath one window.
4) Peanut butter M&Ms in fall colors cover the roof. Chocolate-covered pretzels decorate the peaks. Watermelon Jelly Belly jelly beans form the roof trim.
5) For the lawn, cover the cardboard base with a thin layer of icing, and then sprinkle it with green sanding sugar. The tree is a rock candy lollipop, stuck into a marshmallow. Cover the marshmallow with icing and stick it to the lawn, then sprinkle the marshmallow with more sanding sugar. The fence is made with varying lengths of black Twizzlers, stuck into the icing lawn. The brick walkway is made with more Andes mints.
6) The witch’s legs (sticking out from under the house) are made with red Twizzlers, and the shoes are carved out of a yellow Chuckle with a sharp paring knife. The witch’s hat, on the ground next to the house, is a licorice spiral topped with a green mint meltaway. The broom is made with a pretzel stick, broken, and a bit of a black Twizzler, shredded at the ends.
7) To add another fun element, make a big bat from two chocolate wafer cookies. Snap one of the cookies in half and use those halves for the wings. For the eyes, cut a green jelly bean in half. Then apply two tiny red nonpareils to the jelly bean pieces with corn syrup. Attach skewer to the back of the bat with icing, and then stick the skewer into a lime placed in a juice glass. Position the juice glass behind the house, so the bat appears to be flying above.
Yipes, this ghost-filled house is almost too scary to eat—but we’re gonna try!
Gingerbread Kit: Lauren Chattman made this house using the Gingerbread Halloween Manor from Wilton ($16.49).
Tips: This house is especially easy because of its small size and the fact that it’s pre-assembled, so all you have to do is decorate. Use icing as glue to attach the candies to the house and cardboard base.
1) For the roof, cut lengths of cherry sour belts and Hubba Bubba bubble tap into pieces and glue them on in alternating, overlapping rows. The roof peak is topped with Haribo black raspberry candies. The edge of the roof is covered with a line of licorice Nibs.
2) For the door, attach four red Twizzlers, cutting the bottoms on an angle and then shaping the tops to create a point. The knob is a piece of a black licorice Nib. The windows are black Chuckles, with the rounded sides sliced off with a sharp paring knife, slightly flattened with the palm of your hand. The googly eyes come with the kit. The top window trim is a Red Hot candy, and the bottom is made from three yellow M&Ms.
3) The ghosts are made using Marshmallow Peep ghosts, with googly eyes from the kit attached.
4) The tree consists of four black Twizzlers -- top and bottom ends bent -- attached to each other in the center with some black icing from the kit. The mailbox is a Keebler Fudge Stick with a yellow Chuckle. The walkway is made up of yellow and red Cherry and Passion Tic Tacs (they come together in one box). The lawn is covered with the lime green icing from the kit.
Leftover Candy House
What to do with all that extra candy that's overflowing the trick-or-treat bowl? Instead of inhaling it all yourself, use it to build this cool spooky-face Halloween gingerbread house.
Gingerbread Kit: Lauren Chattman built this house using the Haunted Gingerbread House Kit from Chasing Fireflies ($30).
Tips: Assemble the house by gluing cookies to the house-shaped cardboard box it comes in. Cover the front and roof with a thin layer of icing before placing the cookies on, to avoid having the cardboard peek through the windows and between the cookies. That will give you a solid white background for decorating. This house uses 15 different kinds of candies common in Halloween assortments.
1) The roof is covered with halved Airheads. The chimney is a Milky Way cut on an angle at one end. The smoke is part of a Marshmallow Peeps Ghost.
2) Decorate the front walls with multicolor M&Ms, and use red Twizzlers to make the window panes. The medallions above the windows are made with a Chewy SweetTart topped with a Spree candy and some candy corn underneath. The window boxes are green chuckles. Make the door with 3 mini Charleston Chews. The hinges are candy corn, and the knob is half of a yellow gumdrop. The walkway is made from Starbursts.
3) Sprinkle the lawn with multicolored nonpareils. Trees are made with Blow Pops stuck into marshmallows. For the fence, use a row of mini Twix. Each fencepost is topped with a candy pumpkin.
Halloween Nerds House
This house is for anyone who, like us, is a total Halloween nerd.
Gingerbread Kit: Jackie Alpers, author of Sprinkles! Recipes and Ideas for Rainbowlicious Desserts (Quirk Books, 2013) used the Wilton Pre-Baked Cookie House Kit ($16.49).
Tips: To cover the house with small candies (Nerds work great!), use 1/2 cup powdered sugar mixed with about 1 tablespoon of water and a few drops of black food coloring to make a thick, sticky glaze. After attaching the doors and windows securely, lay the house on its side on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush a layer of glaze over the house and apply the candy directly to the wet glaze.
1) "Glue" lines of Sno-Caps onto the roof with the powder-sugar glaze described above. Pipe thicker icing (which comes with the kit) along the edge of the roof to attach the candy corn and Lemonheads.
2) Make windows with Hershey’s Cookies & Cream candy bars, and accent them with banana- and orange-shaped Runts. The door is a Milano cookie.
3) For the lawn, spread foam-board (you can use heavy cardboard too) with green frosting then press on green jimmies and sour green-apple licorice squares. White chocolate pretzels, peppermint sticks and Sweet Tarts are used as pathways and fences.
4) Dum Dum lollipops pressed into licorice squares act as street lights. Cover the licorice in mint M&M’s attached with a drop of green icing, and scatter candy pumpkins and gumdrops all over the lawn.
Freaky Blood-Red House
You’d better think twice before opening the door to this super-creepy house. Might want to just eat it instead!
Gingerbread Kit: Jackie Alpers built this house using the No-Bake Halloween Haunted House Kit from Williams-Sonoma ($24.95).
Tips: Mix 1/2 cup powdered sugar with about 1 tablespoon of water and a few drops of black food coloring to make a thick, sticky glaze for attaching candies to the house.
1) Attach mini Cookie’s & Cream Hershey bars, Snickers and Twix bars with thick frosting to make the roof shingles. Yellow peanut M&Ms and lemonheads line the house peaks. To make the dark-red façade, attach Boston Baked Beans one by one with drops of thick frosting.
2) Candy corn and strawberry- and orange-shaped Runts make great window and door accents. For the windows, break Cookie’s & Cream Hershey bars in half; leave them whole for the doors. Accent the windows and doors with yellow icing. Peppermint sticks topped with bat- and skull-shaped candies embellish the doors and windows.
3) To make walkways, cut footlong fruit roll-ups into smaller pieces and line the pathway with banana- shaped Runts and Lemonheads. Green jimmies, lime-shaped runts and gumdrops add extra texture to the lawn, made with foam-board spread with green frosting.
Day of the Dead House
Mexican Day of the Dead, celebrated in the U.S. on November 1 and 2, honors family and friends who have passed away. Shrines and gravesides are adorned with sweets, flowers and elaborately decorated skulls made of sugar. This gingerbread house is our own (delicious) take on the tradition.
Gingerbread Kit: Jackie Alpers used the Wilton Petite Pre-Baked Gingerbread House Kit ($16.95).
Tips: To attach thick candies, Wilton Candy melts make a sturdy glaze. Put the melts in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for about 1 minute, stirring every 30 seconds, then spoon into a squeeze-bottle and pipe directly onto the house.
1) While the glaze you’ve brushed onto the surfaces of the house is still wet, apply orange M&Ms, yellow candy dots, green jellybeans, candy corn, and Mallow Bits (tiny marshmallows) directly on it.
2) Attach mini-marshmallows to the edges of the house with white frosting. Use pre-made frosting roses, available from Wilton. Accent the face with black frosting.
3) To make the dirt in front of the house, spread foam-core with frosting and cover with chocolate jimmies and black-colored sugar.
4) To make the bone walkway, you’ll need:
-10-12 mini pretzel rods
-20-24 mini marshmallows
-1 cup white candy melts or white chocolate chips
-parchment or Silpat-lined baking sheet
- Stick marshmallows onto both ends of the pretzels
- Fill a microwave-safe bowl with the white chocolate
- Microwave on high about 1 minute, stirring every 30 seconds.
- Use a fork to dip each pretzel into the candy and move it around until completely covered.
- Lay bones on a cookie sheet until hardened, about 30 minutes.
Arrange the pretzel bones in front of the house, and accent with yellow and orange M&Ms.
Ghosts in the Graveyard
Ok, so this isn’t exactly a house—it’s a cemetery—but those marshmallow ghosts are moving in to stay for a loooong while.
Gingerbread Kit: Jackie Alpers made this candy graveyard using a piece of foam-core (or you can use heavy poster board) as the base.
Tips: To attach the ghosts and gravestones to the base, spread it with a layer of frosting.
1) Crush Oreo cookies to make the dirt. Dye coconut flakes green with food coloring to make grass (mix a drop of food coloring with a teaspoon of water, then coat the coconut flakes and let dry).
2) Break Milano cookies in half to make gravestones, and decorate them with icing.
3) To make the marshmallow ghosts, you’ll need:
-yellow candy melts
-drop of red food coloring
-candy eyes, available from Wilton
-parchment or Silpat-lined baking sheet
-black cookie icing or edible gel icing pens from Betty Crocker
- Fill a small microwave-safe ramekin with yellow candy melts.
- Microwave on high for about 1 minute, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir in a drop of red food coloring to tint the candy orange.
- Dip each marshmallow in the candy, leaving about 1/3 of the marshmallow white at the top. Place on the baking sheet and let harden completely.
- Meanwhile, wash and dry the ramekin and refill with yellow melts. Repeat steps 2 & 3, but this time don’t tint the melts; leave them yellow. Dip the bottoms of the marshmallows in the melted yellow candy.
- Add a drop of black icing to the back of the candy eyeballs to attach them.
Bates Motel from Psycho
This Halloween gingerbread house is almost as chilling as "Psycho," the Hitchcock movie it's inspired by. But don't worry, we decided to leave out the shower scene.
Gingerbread Kit: Coleen Hill of The Redhead Baker made this house using Wilton's Haunted Manor Pre-Baked Cookie Kit ($19.99).
Tips: Use a piece of cardboard or foam-board and cover it with chocolate frosting to make a big, creepy yard leading up to the house.
1) Make the fence from pretzel sticks and use black icing as "glue." The tree is a piece of black licorice.
2) The gravestones are Milano cookies, and the "RIP" is written on with black icing. The walkway "stones" are snickerdoodle wafer cookies. The pumpkins are from a mixed bag of candy corn shapes.
3) The two pieces of the Bates Motel sign are chocolate graham cracker pieces.
4) The roof is lined with pointy-shaped candies from the kit, and the windows are lined with purple candies that also come with the kit. The orange candies lining the bottom of the roof are Reese's Pieces.
Sure, this Halloween gingerbread house is not exactly like the one in "Beetlejuice"—it’s more like our own riff on it, complete with the de rigueur Beetlejuice stripes.
Gingerbread Kit: Coleen Hill built this house using the Haunted Gingerbread House Kit from Chasing Fireflies ($30).
Tips: Set the house on a piece of cardboard or poster-board coated with chocolate frosting. Keep the cobwebbed windows and the door that come with the kit.
1) Ice the roof in white royal icing (included in the kit), and make the stripes out of black licorice twists. The points where the slopes of the roof meet are lined with the gumdrops that came with the kit.
2) The purple slime oozing from the house is tinted royal icing (food coloring is included in the kit). The candies above the front door are jelly beans, and the candies along the bottom of the house are candy corn.
3) The lawn is made of green sprinkles (from the baking aisle in the grocery store), and alongside the front lawn and on the side of the house are gummy worms—inspired, naturally, by the giant worm in the movie.
Ever seen a haunted doghouse? We didn’t think so. We get goosebumps just thinking about it.
Gingerbread Kit: Coleen Hill used the Pre-Baked Gingerbread House Kit from Wilton ($16.49).
Tips: Set the house on a piece of poster-board covered in chocolate frosting.
1) Coat the house in white royal icing and line it with red Twizzlers. Frame the roof with candy corn.
2) The pumpkins are from a mixed bag of candy corn shapes. The gravestones are Milano cookies stuck on with icing, and the lettering is done with royal icing (included with the kit) tinted with black food coloring.
3) The mounds of dirt surrounding the RIP Fido gravestones are made from-- you guessed it--crushed-up Oreo cookies.