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, and build — you might just have a winner in the house. (feature Photo Credit: Istock/Kate Smith)

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 3
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, and winners will be chosen based on originality, best use of candy, overall appearance, and design difficulty. If you’re not up for the challenge but still want to be a part of the creations, view the houses and vote for your favorite on December 4 during the Holiday Happenings Celebration. 

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 2 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 this year’s theme—”Let It Snow.” 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 3 from 10 AM to 4 PM.

Main Street Highland Park’s Gingerbread House Competition
Categories: None specified
Cost: Free
Deadline: November 26 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.

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 9; 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 must be entirely edible (except for the base). Winners will be announced on December 11 and 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: Youth, adult, youth group, adult group, and business
Cost: Free, but please bring a canned vegetable donation (for the 4-H holiday dinner)
Deadline: 8 AM December 10 to 1 PM December 11
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 art (such as a cookie jar or ornament). You can skip the competition part and 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: TBA
Deadline: Details to be announced during the week of 11/21
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.

Haddon Township Environmental Committee’s Gingerbread House Decorating Contest
Categories: General Entry Children & Teen(s), Teams & Families and Business & Advanced/Professional
Cost: $10-$20, depending on the category for entry
Deadline: November 30
Want to spend some time making and decorating a gingerbread house with the fam after feasting on turkey? Make your sweetest creations and enter them in the 1st annual Haddon Township contest. Hosted by the Haddon Township Environmental Committee, all the proceeds from the contest entries, voting ticket sales, and any donations will go toward the 2023 SWCA Project Goat Munch.

Greater Union County Chapter of Jack and Jill’s Gingerbread House Village
Categories: None specified
Cost: $30 per gingerbread house, or $10 to attend
Deadline: Saturday, December 10, from 11 AM to 2 PM at Christ Church of Summit
Come out to the Gingerbread House Village and decorate a house with everyone in your family. Each home is large and has been custom baked for you to decorate. Bring your own candy and any other decor for the outside, (they will give you frosting for the finishing touches). Don’t forget to wear your ugly sweater to participate in the parade and the competition. 

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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