My mother-in-law and sister-in-law hosted a fantastic party for all the grandkids – a graham cracker house party! I’ve thrown a lot of parties in my day, but none as seamless and perfect as this one. Not a lot of fuss, but all kinds of fun. All the grandkids were invited to decorate their own little graham cracker house, all pre-built and cute as can be! Here was the basic set-up:
Wow! That’s a lot of little houses! Every year we decorate graham cracker houses, but having them all made for the kids ahead of time was ingenious! We’ve had more mid-decorating collapses in past years than I care to admit.
They made them far enough in advance that the royal icing was good and solid. No crumbling down houses or kids crying – hooray!
The center of the table was lined with lots of little cups of decorating candies, nuts, goodies, and cereal bits. There were also plenty of cups of homemade royal icing to go around.
We only sampled a few while we built. . . wink, wink.
With their pre-built little houses, the kids were all amazingly independent. They took their decorating job quite seriously.
Even the little ones got a house. It seemed like a few of them had one task, and one task only – to see how much candy could be packed on to a 4 inch box.
Each house was incredibly reflective of the decorator’s personality, so it was really fun to watch them all craft and create in their own style.
The little pastel mint chips were a hit. Other favorite candies were the lego block candies and the rock candy. Thanks Winco, your bulk bins are the best.
I was pleasantly surprised about how easy and tidy the whole party was. The houses were all on paper plates. The candy and royal icing were all in paper cups with plastic utensils, easy for little hands to pass around and quick to clean up. The table was completely covered with a plastic tablecloth, so at the end we just bundled up the leftover bits of mess and it was all tidy, like there had never been twelve little kids making
messes graham cracker houses.
From start to finish the whole party was flawless. The kids had a great time and even the grown-ups got to relax, sit back, and just enjoy watching and visiting instead of working through the whole thing. So fun. At the end Grandpa came in and guessed who had decorated each one. He nailed it.
And all the kids got to take their own houses home from Grandma’s house. A perfect Christmastime party!
If you want to have your own graham cracker house party here are a few tips:
- Use paper plates and cups and cover the table in plastic. Seriously, the best thing we did.
- Pre-make the houses ahead of time. Let them sit for at least an hour or two so they are nice and hard. This will keep them from collapsing.
- If you are making a lot and are having trouble with broken grahams, try wrapping a damp (not wet) paper towel around the graham cracker and cooking it in the microwave for 15 seconds. It softens the crackers just enough to cut without crumbling.
- Use royal icing, not regular frosting. It is the kind that sets up really hard and will hold the house and candy in place. To make royal icing, beat 4 egg whites together with a mixer until they are foamy. Gradually add 4 cups of powdered sugar and 1 tsp. lemon extract. Keep mixing it all at a high speed until it thickens. You need to make this right before you’re planning to use it. Keep the bowl covered with a damp cloth until you are going to use it so it doesn’t harden before you have a chance to use it. We also covered the little cups of royal icing with plastic wrap to keep it from hardening prematurely.
- Fun candies and treats to include on your graham cracker house: edible Lego blocks, rock candy, cereal pieces, mini candy canes, life savers or gummy savers, gum drops, chips (chocolate, mint, butterscotch, etc.), gummy bears, Skittles or M&M’s, Necco candies, Hershey bars (the segments make great doors), and peppermints.