8 Local Gingerbread House Competitions The Whole Family Can Enter

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Looking for a festive and fun family project that’s sweet this Thanksgiving weekend? Turn on the oven, roll out the gingerbread, and decorate a holiday gingerbread house. This traditional yuletide baking project is a great way to teach kids about cooking and boost their creativity at the same time. And while you can use their masterpiece as a household decoration, you can also enter it into one of the contests below for prizes and awards. So get ready, get set, build — you might just have the winner in the house.

Featured Photo Credit: Istock/Kate Smith

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8 gingerbread house contests the whole family can enter

LVJWC’s Gingerbread House Contest
Categories: Ages 7-12; 12-17; adults (18 and older); families
Cost: Free
Deadline: December 4 at 2:30 PM
Enter your gingerbread house creation in this creative competition, sponsored by the Long Valley Junior Women’s Club. All of the decorations for all entries must be edible (you can click here for the complete list of rules), and winners will be chosen based on originality, best use of candy, overall appearance, and design difficulty. Each winner will get a ribbon and prizes from local vendors, and the house will be on display at Racks Valley Boutique (20 Schooley’s Mtn Road) for the rest of December. 

Jefferson Arts Committee’s Gingerbread Train/House Contest
Categories: Ages 4-5; 6-8; 9-12; 13-16; 17 and older
Cost: $6 per entry
Deadline: Entries postmarked by November 30; houses/trains dropped off by December 3 at 6:30 PM
Everyone in the fam can make a house (either homemade or from a supermarket kit) in this Jefferson Township competition, featuring a train theme—”All Aboard for Christmas.” Make sure to pre-register, and then after you’re done, mail in the entry form and the $6. Official judges will decide the winners based on creativity, originality, variety of materials, and connection to the theme. The winners will each be given a medal, and all entries will be displayed in Headley Hall on December 4 from 10 AM to 4 PM.

Main Street Highland Park’s Gingerbread House Competition
Categories: None specified
Cost: Free
Deadline: November 27 from 1 PM-5:45 PM
Spend the night of Thanksgiving making your gingerbread creation (the building doesn’t have to be a house) that uses only food materials. All entries will be displayed at the Night Owl Market in Highland Park, where attendees will vote on their favorites. The winner will get a bag of items from the market’s vendors, and other honorable mentions will get ribbons.

Metuchen’s Love It or List It — Gingerbread House Edition
Categories: None specified
Cost: Free
Deadline: December 11 at 2 PM
Just like the show, community members will judge your gingerbread creation on whether it’s a place you’d want to live in or list, built using only edible materials (except for the base). Competitors will bring their entries to What’s the Scoop, and then the community will vote on the entries, picking one to “love” and one to “list.” The “Love It” winner will get a gift card to Downtown Metuchen stores, while the “List It” winner will get a fixer-upper set.

Ocean County Library (Berkeley Branch) ‘s Gingerbread House Contest
Categories: Children (12 and younger); teens (13-17); adults (18 and older)
Cost: Free
Deadline: December 1 to 15
Encourage your littles, kiddos, and older kiddos to build masterpieces, and then create a gingerbread house of your own. And as long as your creation stays under 12″ x12″, you can make your house from anything — edible or not — including objects from home. Winners from each category will get prizes from The Friends of the Berkeley Library.

Durand-Hedden’s Gingerbread House Contest
Categories: Little ones (8 and younger); youths (9-12); teens (13-17); adults (18 and older); professionals
Cost: Free
Deadline: Entry form due by December 10; creation dropped off between December 7 and December 11
Everyone — from the littlest littles to the pros — can participate in this contest. Feel free to construct any building, and your kiddos can use cardboard for their structure (as long as it’s completely covered in edible materials); adult and professional submissions have to be entirely edible (except for the base). Winners will be announced on December 13 and then displayed at the Hilton Branch Library until January 7. First and second place winners from each category will get gift cards to the Durand-Hedden House Country Store and ribbons, and one grand prize winner (from the entire competition) will get a trophy and a $50 gift card.

Somerset County 4-H’s Gingerbread Contest
Categories: None specified
Cost: Free, but please bring a canned vegetable donation (for the 4-H holiday dinner)
Deadline: December 11 from 8 AM-10 AM
You don’t have to be a 4-H club member to participate, so get your littles and kiddos together to build a gingerbread house or gingerbread art (such as a cookie jar or ornament). You can choose to skip the competition part and just drop it off for display at the Ted Blum 4-H Center in Bridgewater or fill out a form to join the contest when you’re there. Judges will review the competition entries and pick their winners.

The Backyard Experience’s Gingerbread House Building Contest and Movie Showing
Categories: None specified
Cost: $40, or $30 with a toy donation
Deadline: Day of Event on December 11 at 3:30 PM
Have your littles and kiddos participate in this day of gingerbread house competition event (kit included), and if their house wins, they’ll get a prize. Afterward, don’t forget to stop by the hot chocolate station for a well-earned treat. You can also grab some other food and drinks (available for purchase). Kids will also love the surprise visitor in red, face painting, and a Christmas movie.

Are you planning to make a gingerbread house this season? Show us your entries!

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About Author

Caroline is a writer from central Jersey who loves checking out new boardwalks and beach towns (current faves include Long Branch and Ocean Grove), admiring the foliage and walking around downtown Princeton, and singing along to music—often with her younger sister. One of her favorite jobs was being a camp counselor and helping out at local, family-friendly events. She can regularly be found ordering a pie to go from Romeo's in Plainsboro, her favorite pizzeria.

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