These Halloween Gingerbread Men are loads of fun to make and will add a spooky twist to your Halloween celebrations!
My kids absolutely love Halloween so every year I try to come up with fun Halloween food to keep their joy alive.
I love making gingerbread men at Christmas time so this year I just brought it forward in time a bit and decided to make them into fun Halloween cookies instead.
I had so much fun making these, as you can probably tell. There are loads of different things you can do to decorate your Halloween gingerbread cookies - so I hope my post here will give you some ideas and inspiration to get you started.
I have detailed what tools and piping tips I used for each variation to make it easier for you to replicate.
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Why you'll love this recipe
- They are super fun to make and great for getting the kids involved.
- They are easy to make but look really effective.
- They not only look good but taste great too.
- They last well in an airtight container.
There are loads of gingerbread recipes out there. I like to keep my pretty simple with ground ginger and mixed spice for flavour. Here is what you will need.
- Sugar - soft brown sugar for me makes the best gingerbread. However if you only have white sugar, that will work too.
- Golden Syrup - a lot of recipes for gingerbread use molasses. I prefer golden syrup as it is slightly lighter and less sweet... and I always have some in my pantry. However you could choose whichever you prefer, or have available. I know it can be difficult to find golden syrup in some countries.
- Egg - some gingerbread recipes only use the egg yolk. This is great if you are planning to use the egg white to make royal icing. However, I have tried it both ways and haven't really noticed any difference. So I tend to just throw the whole egg in, unless I need the egg white for icing.
- Plain Flour - aka all-purpose flour
- Spices - it's gingerbread, so obviously you need ground ginger. And yes you really do need a whole tablespoon. It's really not that strong, I promise. I also use a teaspoon of mixed spice, but you could also add in ground cloves and cinnamon instead if that is what you have.
- Baking soda
What you need for decorating
I find royal icing the best for decorating cookies. It's easy to work with and dries hard. You will need piping bags and piping tips for the best results. Also needed here are edible candy eyes and an edible pen.
- Royal Icing - You can buy royal icing mix that you just add water to, which is super simple, or you can make your own. If you have a Thermomix, use the royal icing recipe here. If not, you can try this recipe from Preppy Kitchen.
- Edible Googly eyes - aka candy eyeballs or sugar eyes. You can use plain white ones, or around Halloween time you can often get fun coloured ones like in these photos.
- Food colouring - For the cookies made in the photos here, I just used red food colouring and used an edible pen in place of black colouring. Make sure you use a gel colouring and not liquid.
- Edible pen - I chose to use an edible pen for my ginger-dead men here - it is much quicker and easier to use than piping. But if you have spare time and a steady hand you could also use black icing here.
- Piping bags - I use these 12-inch Wilton piping bags.
- Piping tips - I use two different piping tips here: Wilton #4, which is a small round tip and the Wilton basketweave #47, which is a flat tip perfect for making the mummy bandages.
How to Make the Gingerbread Men
If you have a Thermomix, I recommend using this Thermomix gingerbread recipe. It is very easy and saves a fair bit of time and effort. If you don't have a Thermomix, then read on!
You can use a handheld mixer or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment for this. Start by creaming together the butter, sugar and golden syrup until well combined and creamy-looking. Then mix in the egg.
In a separate bowl sieve together the dry ingredients. Then slowly add them into the wet ingredients on a low speed until combined. The resulting dough will be thick and sticky.
Once you have your dough, turn it out onto a well-floured surface and use floured hands to divide it into two. Shape each half of the dough into a disc (this will make it easier to roll it out later) and cover with plastic wrap.
Now store it in the fridge for at least 2 hours - you can even keep it in the fridge for up to 2 days if you need. Don't skip this step - the dough will be too sticky to roll out right now.
Once you are ready to roll it out, flour your work surface and rolling pin and roll out each disc to around ¼ inch thick.
Use cookie cutters to cut out gingerbread men and place them on a lined baking tray, at around 1 inch apart. They won't spread much.
Then transfer to a cooling rack to allow them to cool completely before decorating them.
How to Decorate Halloween Gingerbread Men
There is loads of fun to be had here! I highlight four different designs here: Mummies, Zombies, Skeletons and Ginger-dead men. They are all very easy to make as long as you have the right tools.
I find royal icing the easiest to pipe with for gingerbread men. You will need a piping bag and piping tips.
To make the mummies you will need royal icing and googly eyes. You will also need a piping bag with a flat tip. I use the Wilton basket weave tip #47.
This has basket weave on one side and is flat on the other. When piping, make sure that you have the basket side facing down and the flat side facing up.
To make the mummy bandage effect, you just need to pipe across the body and face a few times and then finish with some googly eyes.
The gingerbread zombies are basically normal gingerbread men, but with one giant cyclops eye where you would normally pipe the face. It's amazing what a difference it makes to the overall look!
You will need a piping bag and small round piping tip - I use Wilton tip #4. Just pipe the cuffs on the gingerbread man's arms and legs and then add a large bloodshot googly eye to the centre of his face.
To make the skeletons you will need royal icing and googly eyes. You will also need a piping bag and small round piping tip - I use Wilton tip #4.
I like to keep my piped skeleton bones fairly simple - but you can be as creative as you like! Finish it off with some googly eyes.
These gruesome gingerbread men are so fun to make! You also get to sample the cookies as you go, when you sever off the legs and arms.
Choose which limbs to sever - leg, arm or head and pipe some red icing along the sever mark. You can also pipe in some knife wounds on the body. Finish it off with the edible pen to draw on the doomed faces and some scars. Such fun!
FAQs and Top Tips
Keep them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Gingerbread should last for up to a month. If decorating gingerbread with royal icing, they should be eaten within a week.
Make sure you keep it in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Overnight works too, just let it warm up a little before rolling. Don't skip refrigerating the dough. It will be too sticky to roll out.
If you like soft chewy gingerbread, roll your dough out slightly thicker and bake it for less time - I do around 8 minutes.
If you prefer crunchy gingerbread, roll the dough a little thinner and bake for longer - up to 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them though and remove from the oven as soon as they start to go dark brown at the edges.
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Halloween Gingerbread Men
- 100 g soft brown sugar
- 125 g butter
- 125 g golden syrup
- 1 egg
- 375 g plain flour aka all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda aka baking soda
For Decorating the Halloween Cookies
- Royal Icing
- Edible Candy eyes
- Use a hand mixer or stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Start by beating the butter for 1 minute on a medium speed until soft and creamy.
- Scrape down the sides. Add the sugar and golden syrup and continue to cream together on a medium-high speed until creamy looking (approx. 1 minute).
- Scrape down the sides and add the egg. Beat over a high heat for a further minute until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, sieve together the flour, ginger, mixed spice and baking soda.
- Using a low speed, slowly add in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until completely combined. The dough will be thick and sticky.
- Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Use your hands to bring it together and divide the dough into two. Shape each half into discs. Cover each disc with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours. Overnight is fine too.
- When ready to make the gingerbread men, pre-heat the oven to 180C / 350F and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Generously flour your work surface and rolling pin and roll out each disc to around ¼ inch thick.
- Use cookie cutters to cut out your gingerbread men and transfer to the baking tray, spacing them around an inch apart. I usually put 6 cookies per tray.
- Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes - ensure you remove them as soon as they start to go dark brown on the edges.
- Remove from the oven and transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and allow to completely cool before icing.
- Use royal icing, edible candy eyes and an edible pen to decorate the cookies. Please see blog post above for detailed instructions for each variation.