Hosting a gingerbread house decorating party for adults can be a fun way to throw an activity into a holiday get-together, but making sure that you’re prepared will also make sure that you enjoy yourself during the party.
Decorating gingerbread with adults is a lot different than decorating with kids, so knowing what to expect will make it a lot more fun for you!
In most cases, a gingerbread house party for adults can be less structured than a party for children, but should still have materials and work areas prepared. The party can also include adult beverages and a contest for the best house, or themes that the houses have to follow.
Using gingerbread as the theme for the party, you can start with invitations and weave it through the party decorations and menu.
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Gingerbread house party supplies needed.
The supplies that you need for a gingerbread house party for adults include the houses, candy, and decorator’s icing. You also need to plan on food and drinks for your guests, plus any decor you want to use to decorate your house. Get some disposable tablecloths to cover the work areas, and sturdy paper plates or cardboard to put the houses on.
Depending on whether you want to keep this a low-key event or not, you might not want to have alcohol involved.
If your guests are coming over thinking that they’re going to decorate a cute house to take home, that’s one thing.
If your guests think that they’re coming over to have a real party and they’ve assigned designated drivers, that’s a different kind of menu.
You know your guests best, so plan accordingly.
If you do want to go the adult beverage route, there are plenty of recipes for gingerbread cocktails online, or you can get some gingerbread stout specialty beer that they usually sell in the winter.
Check on Amazon for gingerbread and peppermint-flavored syrups that you can put into drinks here: Gingerbread flavored syrups
You can also opt to only serve hot cocoa or coffee, and that’s often the best choice to avoid rowdiness.
As far as food, it’s usually good to serve savory snacks for the party menu, since people will probably be eating the candy as they decorate the houses.
Feeding people before decorating can also be a good thing to cut down on sugar consumption.
For paper party supplies, you can start with invitations shaped like gingerbread men, then continue with pre-decorated houses that serve as centerpieces on the decorating tables until people start working.
There are a lot of gingerbread-themed napkins and tablecloths that you can find around Christmas time, so keep your eye out for those and you’ll be able to decorate the tables to match the event.
You’ll also need to have some kind of plastic wrap to wrap the houses up for the ride home, so look for holiday-themed special edition cling film, or colored wraps.
For the plates that the houses sit on, you can probably find red plastic disposable plates to use.
They’re a good way to move the houses around without bending and dumping them on the floor.
Gingerbread house supplies for a party.
For the house supplies themselves, you can either buy kits to make houses for each of the guests, or bake the pieces yourself. There should be enough candy for each person to cover a house, and icing bags for the decorator’s icing. Preparing these ahead of time is the best way to make the party go smoothly.
If you’re planning on baking the houses yourself, I would suggest doing it a few days to a week ahead of time.
That way you’ll have time to correct any disasters that can happen.
If you’re in a humid climate, you might want to use a construction-grade gingerbread like mine here: Sturdy gingerbread recipe.
If you’re going to use house kits, I would assume that you’ll still need more candy. The candy in a gingerbread house kit is pathetic, and most people are going to want to use more than they give you.
I wrote this article about improving on gingerbread house kits, check it out for some suggestions: How To Make a Gingerbread House Kit Better
For the candy, buy a few bags of bulk candy, but plan on having more on hand than you think you’ll need.
You can save what you don’t use for the following year (candy usually lasts a long time) and it’s better to have too much than not enough.
I would suggest putting the houses together BEFORE the party, because it will save time and a lot of aggravation. I would also have a couple of extra ones ready in case you have last-minute guests.
For the candy, it’s usually good to have individual containers of candy for each guest ready.
You can use cupcake pans to dole out the candy so that people have a good amount to start, then have the rest ready for them to get more if they need a certain type of color.
You can also use small containers that people can help themselves to, so that you don’t have to serve up the same candy to everyone.
That’s usually what I do so that people can choose what they want to use.
I promise you…At every gingerbread house party, regardless of what age the guests are, there will be one person who is super obsessive about their house.
Everything will have to match, be symmetrical, or whatever…Just leave them alone and give them enough candy, they’re having fun in their own way.
There will also be someone who doesn’t want to participate, so they stick one marshmallow on the top of the roof and they call it a minimalist house.
Just give them a drink and don’t worry about it, they’re only there for the party, not the activity.
You might want to give people spatulas to spread the icing out, because some people like to cover the whole roof and then stick the candy on.
There will be a lot of weird behavior around this from adults, so just expect it, be prepared, and don’t worry about it too much.
But if you want to encourage it, you can add a theme or a contest to the party.
Gingerbread house party contest ideas.
If you want to make your gingerbread house decorating party into a contest, you can include a theme that everyone has to follow, or give people a choice of a few themes to do. At the end of the evening everyone votes for the one they like best OTHER than their own. The winner can get a gingerbread-themed prize.
If you want to keep it traditional, you can choose a theme like “gnome house” or “candy cottage.”
For your friends who are willing to be weirder, you can do a theme like “dive bar” or “gingerbread hoarder house.”
These are the kind of houses that generally create a more raucous atmosphere, so again, plan accordingly.
The non-traditional themes will also tend to need different types of candy, or maybe rolled fondant that can be shaped into specific decorations.
Sticking with a traditional theme is generally safer, but the weird themes are more fun, depending on the crowd!
At the end of the party, everyone can vote for the house that they like best other than the ones that they made, so that people don’t just vote for themselves.
The winner gets a prize that has a gingerbread theme to it, then everyone takes their own house home.
What type of prize you award can be up to you.
It can be something as simple as a 6 pack of non-alcoholic specialty ginger beer, or you can get elaborate and make up a gift box full of ginger snaps and other candy that was used to decorate the houses.
You could also make an award certificate to give to the winner if you want it to be an annual event.
You’d be surprised how crazy people get when they know there’s an award they could win, even if it’s one that you printed out.
To make the evening more intense, you can show people the award before you start, and that will really get them excited.
Even if it’s something like a paper crown covered with purple stars and “winner” written on it, I promise you that people will compete for it.
Sending the guests home with their houses.
At the end of the party, you can wrap the houses with plastic wrap and a twist tie and send them home with the guests who made them. If the houses were built in advance and had time to dry before the party, they’ll be sturdy enough to move and the guests won’t damage them by moving them around.
Gingerbread houses that are built correctly are a lot stronger than people think they are. If you put them on a plastic plate or a strong piece of cardboard, a wrapped house won’t be damaged in transit.
It’s better to move them when the icing has dried, but by the time the party is over the houses will have had time to set up, so the icing won’t be damaged by being moved.
Gingerbread house decorating parties are fun for all ages, but the key for you to enjoy your own party is to get everything prepared ahead of time.
As long as you do that, you won’t have to run around working during the party, and you’ll be able to have a good time along with your guests.
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