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Gingerbread House

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"A gingerbread man sits in a gingerbread house.
Is the house made of flesh?
Or is he made of house?
He screams, for he does not know."

The Gingerbread House is a stock location in fairy tales. It's where Hansel and Gretel were lured to after their wicked stepmother told their dad the family couldn't afford the kids anymore. Hansel and Gretel wandered in the woods until they found a large cottage made of gingerbread, cookies, cakes, and candy, with clear sugar windows. The hungry children started to eat the house, until its owner invited them inside. Unbeknownst to the kids, she was really a wicked witch who would use the house to lure victims inside and eat them. It's the chocolate palace in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It is, simply put, a building made of food, usually sweets, but other variations do exist.

Sistertrope of Level Ate. This often, but not always, overlaps with Giant Food and Bizarrchitecture. Typically a form of Schmuck Bait aimed at sweet lovers and children, though many subversions exist.


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  • There was a Skoda advert where a full-sized replica of the car was made out of cake and sweets. It was shot from real life, but by the end of shooting it was out of date and couldn't be eaten.
    • Subverted by the follow up "Meaner stuff" advert showing a more powerful version of the car being made of a bone chassis, melted down katanas, snake venom, barbed wire, road rubber and windscreen wipers made from crossbow parts, put together with brute strength and hi-tech tools.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Fairy Musketeers: One such house plays into the backstory of Hansel and Gretel.
  • Heterogenia Linguistico: Hakaba inadvertently uses edible moss to repair his hut in Utatsu, leading to a centaurus eating the walls and it becoming known as the "edible house". He repairs it with inedible mud and peat to keep this from happening again.
  • MÄR: The team (specifically, Princess Snow) fights against an ugly little girl whose signature ARM is the Gingerbread House - a house of sweets. Eating it makes her grow to sumo-like proportions, gaining superhuman strength and toughness in the process. And of course, as she grows bigger, her voice grows deeper and thicker. (Also, she turns into a Gonk.)
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The barrier of Charlotte is a particularly grim example of this trope.
  • Sailor Moon: In one Non-Serial Movie, the Mooks of the big bad cast an illusion over the senshi that causes them to see the playground they were fighting in as a gingerbread house.
  • Toriko:
    • Toriko lives in one, which he does eat, as well as the neighboring animals. It must be periodically rebuilt, much to the dismay of the architect.
    • The chef Pippi can materialize a gingerbread house.

    Asian Animation 
  • In episode 90 of Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Joys of Seasons, Paddi saves up as many pieces of candy as he can so that he can build a house with them. When he does finish the structure, he becomes extremely bossy with the other goats when they visit it, and he ends up straining his friendship with them. Then Wolffy finds the house and brings it to his castle (the candy house has wheels so that Paddi can move it wherever he wants) and tries to coax Paddi out of it so he and his family and eat him.

    Board Games 
  • Candy Land has this as the last space in editions released before The '80s (and on reproductions of those editions).

    Comic Books 
  • MAD
    • One MAD parody had a witch putting together a gingerbread house. Unfortunately, the witch forgot to bug-proof it, and the comic ends with Hansel and Gretel discovering a house swarming with ants.
    • One issue of its Brazilian counterpart made a parody where, after eating too much of the gingerbread house, Hansel and Gretel started eating a house made of Alka Seltzer.
  • Monica's Gang: Jimmy and Maggy find the fabled house and Maggy, being a Big Eater, started eating it. Fearing the witch, Jimmy tried to discourage her. In the end, they left without knowing that the witch isn't so bad as the tale suggested and Hansel and Gretel are actually her grandchildren.
  • El Chavo del ocho: Doña Clotilde told the tale to El Chavo, Quico and La Chillindrina. When she recalled how she liked hearing her mother telling the tale, the kids thought her mother was the witch from the tale.
  • Parodied on The Far Side, where a Wicked Witch with a house made of brussel sprouts notes how her neighbour seems to be better at attracting kids with her gingerbread house. The caption notes that she was later forced to sell her home.
  • Polly Green, the official Witch of Halloween in Jingle Belle, transforms her family's house into a self-repairing gingerbread house as a Christmas gift. Her family's initially unhappy because all they demanded expensive junk they expected her to conjure with her magic, but then they get a whiff of gingerbread and turn ravenous. After spending most of the day eating the house, the Green Family sans Polly have become morbidly obese with Polly saying they should've looked at the nutritional facts she summoned with the house. Polly's not trying to eat them though, she exploited her family's constant overindulging attitude to teach them a lesson for always guilt tripping her into giving them free stuff. Polly turns the house back to normal and puts her family on an exercise regime expected to last until next Christmas.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • The witch's gingerbread house from "Hansel and Gretel," recorded by The Brothers Grimm in 1812, is the Trope Codifier.
  • Older Than Print: The legendary land of Cockaigne is said to have houses of barley sugar roofed with cakes, according to a 13th-century poem.
  • "Invitation to Lubberland", the original European version of "Big Rock Candy Mountain", involves a lot of this kind of thing, such as streets with pudding pies, powdered beef, and bacon; also, "The lofty buildings of this place / For many years have lasted; / With nutmegs, pepper, cloves, and mace, / The walls are there rough-casted, / In curious hasty-pudding boil'd, / And most ingenious carving; / Likewise they are with pancakes ty'd, / Sure, here's no fear of starving."

  • In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the book (and the second movie adaptation) shows why having a house made of sweets (in this case, chocolate) could be a very bad idea- especially in a hot climate. This happens when Wonka has a chocolate palace built for a prince in India, and it quickly melts in the heat of summer.
  • In T.H. White's The Sword in the Stone, Morgan Le Fey's house is a feast of food. Unlike most examples, this is a test. As in many folkloric accounts of Fairyland, if the boys eat anything, they will be trapped. It's also a subversion in that the house is so over-the-top as to be nauseating instead of tempting. Morgan, being a fae, has little experience of food.
  • The almost forgotten nursery rhyme King Boggen:
    King Boggen, he built a fine new hall;
    Pastry and piecrust, that was the wall;
    The windows were made of black pudding and white,
    Roofed with pancakes — you never saw the like.
  • A gingerbread cottage appears in The Light Fantastic, although we're told the Confectionery School of Architecture never really caught on, even amongst witches (outside high-magic areas like the Forest of Skund, the walls go soggy). "Black" Allis Demmurge (in Wyrd Sisters) is also described as living in a gingerbread cottage (although Maskerade claims that once she'd gone really peculiar, she "turned people into gingerbread and lived in a cottage made of frogs"). References are also made in a couple of books to health-conscious witches experimenting with crispbread, but that proved even less popular.
  • Fairly common in Xanth books. Lots of food grows on trees, and Bink's family lives in a cottage made from cottage cheese.
  • The giant peach in James and the Giant Peach qualifies, being a home for the anthropomorphic insects with whom James interacts. At the end, the peach gets eaten, and James and his new family move into a house made from the peach's pit.
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (both the book and the movie) features a house made of Jello.
  • In A Tale of..., a series that serves as a Twice-Told Tale retelling of the Disney Animated Canon, the overarching Big Bad trio of the Odd Sisters lives in one of these.
  • Subverted in the Whoniverse book Time Lord Fairy Tales: The titular "Gingerbread Trap" just looks like one of these to lure hungry kids inside, and is actually a prison cell.
  • Gothic Hospital begins with the narrator describing his dream world, starting with a steam train dropping him off at an unattended station which at first appears to conform to this trope, appearing to have been constructed of various candies, but is revealed to be made of normal materials, largely concrete cast into the shapes of piles of confectioneries and painted, apparently in an attempt to lift the morale of children being sent to the titular hospital.

    Live Action TV 
  • Heston Blumenthal created one of these for his themed dinner-show program. It was just big enough to walk into if you crouched, and absolutely everything was edible. Including the doormat and stained "glass" windows.
  • The fairy-tale inspired Once Upon a Time has a Hansel & Gretel episode complete with the expected Candy-House, though it's unclear whether the structure itself is edible. It's just as likely that the bright colors outside and similarly pastel pastries inside are all part of the trap.
  • The Great British Bake Off:
    • Done as a Showstopper in series 3 — although it was specified that the building should not be the traditional cottage, leading to a gingerbread barn, a birdhouse and a Roman coliseum.
    • Returned in series 4, though "structure" wasn't specified, leading to, of all things, a gingerbread Dalek.
    • The free-form version reappeared in series 5 (with highlights including a gingerbread dragon and pirate ship) and yet again in series 7 (in which a gingerbread pub, complete with sticky floor and lime jelly pool table cover, wins Candice Star Baker).
  • The Hey You! What If... episode "You Could Build A Gingerbread House?" demonstrates that you could make a full size gingerbread house that was completely edible (including the windows), but would be highly impractical, and only survive for a few months before rotting away.

  • Boat example, Shirley Temple's trademark song, "On the Good Ship Lollipop"
  • Violent J's song "Candyland" has this.
  • The Traffic song "A House For Everyone" begins with
    My bed is made of candy floss
    The house is made of cheese
    It's lit by lots of glow worms
    If I'm wrong, correct me please
  • The märchenoper (opera based on a fairy tale) Hänsel und Gretel, composed by Engelbert Humperdinck in 1891. Far from being quaint and charming, the opera pulls no punches describing what it would be like to be cooked alive in an oven. The famous house is surrounded by a fence made of gingerbread children - Rosine Leckermaul's previous victims - who sing a chorus entitled "The dead arise, but cannot see."
  • German comdedy band Die Doofen had the song Ich bau dir ein Haus aus Schweinskopfsülze (I'll build a house of pork in aspic for you)

  • The radio version of Little Britain had a sketch about a group of builders constructing a gingerbread house for a witch, and discussing various building materials, etc.

    Tabletop Games 
  • GURPS Bio-Tech offers the concept of biological buildings which are made of flesh, and alive. As an option, you might have the walls grow redundant sections which can be eaten, and regrown.

    Video Games 
  • We Heart Katamari has a gingerbread house level where you have to roll up as many sweets as possible for two fans: Hansel and Gretel.
  • SaGa Frontier: Kylin's Paradise is a giant refuge for children made out of gingerbread cookies and candy treats.
  • A witch with a gingerbread house shows up in King's Quest I: Quest For The Crown. If Sir Graham tries to eat from the house, she'll turn him into a Graham cracker.
  • The closest its brother game Space Quest gets is a reference to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory during the 6th game, and an Easter Egg if you use the otherwise-useless tongue icon on one of the Xenon ruins.
  • Q's Winter Wonderland in Star Trek Online features an entire life-size gingerbread village populated by sapient gingerbread people who are constantly fending off attacks by the snowmen who previously claimed the land as their own.
  • In Rugrats Castle Capers, the Boss Room of "Dessert Island" takes place in one of these, where Angelica, who is dressed as Gretel from Hansel and Gretel, summons Gingerbread Men to attack the babies. To defeat her, the babies have to feed the Gingerbread Men cupcakes.

     Web Original 

  • In Pibgorn, after Geoff's house was destroyed, Dru magics up a new one to replace it.
    Geoff: That aroma... it's gingerbread!
    Dru: I love that new-house smell.
  • Biter Comics: A witch attempts to lure children into her gingerbread house, but is disappointed when they go for her neighbor's much tastier junk food house.

    Western Animation 
  • Kim Possible had a building made out of cheese (and, no, it wasn't just a building ''covered'' in cheese).
  • Rocko's Modern Life: In "Yarnbenders", when Rocko tells Filburt the story of Hansel and Gretel (or at least tries to), he changes the gingerbread house to one made of healthy snacks, but Heffer changes it to a house of pizza. They argue back and forth until Filburt declares that the house be made of fishsticks.
  • In one Chuck Jones Tom and Jerry short, Jerry hides inside a huge wheel of Swiss cheese and sculpts out a home inside.
  • On Futurama, the Neptunians working for Robot Santa Claus beg for food despite living in gingerbread houses because "it's either food or shelter, not both."
  • The Simpsons featured, in a warped version of "Hansel and Gretel," a gingerbread house. Homer starts eating it, of course, prompting it to collapse. The witch yells "That was a load bearing candy cane, you clumsy oaf!"
    • And let's not forget his gumdrop house on Lollipop Lane.
    • And the iconic "land of chocolate" sequence, when he imagines edible roads, sign-posts, small dogs, and candy-shops (where they're having a fifty percent off sale.)
    • Also, in the episode "Trash of the Titans", Homer ran for sanitation commissioner and accused his opponent of luring children to a gingerbread house.
  • The Sugarcube Corner bakery in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has a cupcake motif going for it, though whether it's actually edible is anypony's guess. The most widely accepted fanon is that it's made out of ordinary construction materials and only fashioned to look like a pastry.
  • Garfield and Friends: Garfield told Nermal a version of the tale, but have to soften it for Nermal. Instead of pushing the witch into the oven, Hansel and Gretel reported her to the City Hall for building a house with lower quality materials. The house had to be demolished, which created job opportunities as a demolishing area, one of those taken by Hansel and Gretel's Dad. As Nermal felt sorry for the witch, Garfield added she opened a daycare.
  • Titans Tower became a gingerbread house in the Teen Titans (2003) episode "Mother Mae-Eye."
  • In the episode "Flapjack the Gentleman" in The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, Lady Nickelbottom's mansion and all of her furniture is made out of candy. Naturally, the plot of the episode revolves around the main characters trying to dismantle the house and make off with it.
  • In the short, "Fit to Be Stewed" from the Tiny Toon Adventures episode, "Buster's Directorial Debut", Witch Sandy invites Buster and Babs into her house, which is made out of carrot cake. While Babs makes herself at home, Buster becomes suspicious of Sandy's kindly hospitality. In fact, Sandy is revealed to want to cook and eat the two rabbits, but her recipe tells her not to substitute toon rabbits, so she turns Babs into a non-anthropomorphic rabbit and tries to do the same to Buster.
  • In the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episode, "Sonically Ever After", Dr. Robotnik's Portable Portal Transporter transports Sonic, Tails, and Robotnik into a book of fairy tales. One such story called "Hansel and Nettle" involves Sonic and Tails as the two children and Robotnik as the Witch. To lure them into a trap, Robotnik's house is revealed to be made out of chili dogs.
  • Deconstructed on Right Now Kapow, where the two cast members playing Hansel and Gretel point out that an actual house made entirely of gingerbread and candy would have several sanitary and structural issues that would make it unfit to live in.
  • One shows up in an episode of Disenchantment when Princess Bean investigates a mad old witch sentenced to die for the disappearance of several citizens of Dreamland. Hansel and Gretal also appear, though in a twist, they were the ones killing (and eating) people after having imprisoned their adopted mother and driven her insane.
  • One episode of Teen Titans Go! has the titans each interrupting Robin to tell a Fractured Fairy Tale. Beast Boy and Cyborg's is a pastiche of Hansel and Gretel, where the children lampshade that the witches candy house would be sticky and get her hair stuck to it all day. This witch's scheme is interrupted by other witches, each with their own food houses like an appetizer house, and a meat and potatoes house. While the witches argue over poaching each other's prey, the children quickly devour all their houses, leaving them to lament being homeless.

    Real Life 
  • A Toronto confectionery company built an actual gingerbread house large enough for children to walk through, using giant candy canes for structural members and sheets of candy glass for the windows. It was displayed in one of the city's larger shopping malls, then donated to the local children's hospital.
  • In Bergen, Norway, there's a gingerbread city.
  • Of course, dollhouse-sided versions of these are popular, especially around Christmas. Sometimes they actually get eaten.
  • Gourmet cooking schools and architecture firms sometimes compete to build elaborate gingerbread castles, clocks, entire doll villages, and other structures (usually no bigger than table size). Traditionally these are fundraisers for charities that benefit children. Though they look beautiful, by the time the contest is over the structures are generally so stale and dried-out as to be inedible (and some contests permit glues or preserving sprays that aren't meant to be eaten).
  • The annual Festival of Trees in Atlanta, GA, always had a gingerbread house competition. The creators of the houses were usually the chief chefs of hotels or businesses in the city.


Video Example(s):


Palace of Chocolate

In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the book (and the second movie adaptation) shows why having a house made of sweets (in this case, chocolate) could be a very bad idea- especially in a hot climate. This happens when Wonka has a chocolate palace built for a prince in India, and it quickly melts in the heat of summer.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / GingerbreadHouse

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