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This is a great family tradition that was ongoing when I was a kid, and I adopted it when I grew up and began my own family. Our family and neighbors look forward to it each year. I usually make Christmasy invitations; one year the invitations were in the form of a Christmasy building permit, candyprints (vice blueprints) complete with a list of authorized candy materials and inspection form, authorized with a signature from Santa.

What you need:

- Lots of cereal boxes or cardboard

- Styrofoam plates

- Foil

- Scissors

- Scotch tape

- Plastic knives (for spreading the frosting)

- Frosting (Royal Frosting or the store bought stuff in the can)

- A lot of different types of candy, hard, soft, vines, mints, chocolate, grahm crackers, etc

Every year for over 18 years now, we invite all the neighborhood families to come to our house for our annual Candy House Making and BBQ. Wifeypoo runs the Candy House, I run the BBQ (and the beer).

A week prior, I sit down and make the houses out of cereal boxes or cardboard, 2 wall sections and 1 roof section. I make a template (after a few trial and errors) then trace out and cut a bunch more. The house is about 6"tall, 6" long, and 4" wide.

I tape those together with scotch tape then attached to a base. We prefer either Styrofoam plates (paper plates are too flimsy), or cardboard wrapped in foil.

Wifeypoo also prepares gingerbread for a true gingerbread house. It's challenging to get the gingerbread just right - too thin and it will be brittle; too thick and it will be soft. Each family gets 1 undecorated gingerbread house, anad each person gets a candy house.

We put the candy in many small containers all over the table, ensuring there are many of the same kind within reach of every seat. The kids then spread the frosting on the walls, then stick the candy to it. You'd be amazed at the creativity that some of these kids can come up with.

Over the years I've tried to use only grahm crackers but have found that they soften and collapse, making for unhappy candy occupants.

Quality control is important, so I have to go around to each candy bowl and sample it, ensuring only the best candy allowed. That is until Wifeypoo chases me away. :)

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