The sugar highs were palpable as dozens of teenage girls decorated 64 gingerbread houses at New Hope Community Church on Friday night.
The houses were baked by Shawn Lockwood, after youth pastor Tim Beal asked her to expand what has always been a family Christmas tradition in the Lockwood home.
“We invited his family over to decorate houses with us one year and he asked, ‘Would you do it with the youth group?’” she said, adding that several of them had also brought friends from school.
Girls each got a house of their own and a plate to fill up with colorful piles of candy from several tables’ worth of gumdrops, mints, Skittles and a variety of other treats. Walls and roofs were soon laden with candy, but plenty of it made it into the teens’ mouths, too.
Clair Anderson, who used colorful sticks of gum to create shingles on her roof, said she “just grabbed stuff” from the table and then decided where it would go once she started laying down frosting.
Megan Joyce was outlining her roof in purple jawbreakers, giving it what she described as a “Hansel and Gretel” theme.
“My favorite part of decorating gingerbread houses is you get to make it just creatively, and make it whatever you want,” she said.
Cidney Estes was busy poking the candy into the green frosting — her favorite color — that she had spread liberally all over her house.
Her favorite part?
“That I get to eat along the way,” she said.
Contact Jade McDowell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-564-4536.