Dining in Disneyland: Haunted Gingerbread House Workshop at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen

Dining in Disneyland columnist Heather Sievers signed up for a fun Halloween Haunted Gingerbread House Making workshop in Downtown Disney Anaheim! Check out the spooooky results and then sign yourself up for this Sunday’s Workshop!

After reading about the event online, I decided to reserve a spot for my family at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen’s Haunted House Building Workshop in Downtown Disney. Building a messy candy house in someone else’s kitchen means no mess in my own kitchen!

(Note: If you are in the Disneyland area, you still have time to register for the October 30th [THIS SUNDAY] Haunted House Workshop. Call Bruno Duarte at 714.776.5200 from 10am-4pm on Friday, October 28th to make your reservation. More about this later!)

When I called for my reservation, I was told two things: bring a box to carry your house home in and bring “extra” candies and decor for your house.  I really had no idea what to expect at this event, I just knew that it sounded pretty fun.  A friend of mine also signed up for the workshop, so she was in charge of our “extras.”  I will say right now that if it wasn’t for her, our houses would be pretty pathetic looking.

Unfortunately, I did not have my listening ears on when I made my phone call to reserve a spot, because in my mind the event started at 11:00.  When we walked up to the podium to “check in” we were told it doesn’t start until 12:00, which is clearly visible on the poster in front of the restaurant… Oops.  We figured with an hour to kill it would be a good time to head over to Jamba Juice for a smoothie.

Proof of a Noon Start Time

When we came back, we realized how serious people were about their Haunted House building. There were people with foil wrapped cookie sheets, special boxes, and bags and bags of goodies to decorate their houses with.  My novice family lined up and marched up the stairs to where the workshop was taking place.  This being only the second year of the Haunted House Workshop, there appeared to be an even mix of newbies and return professionals from the previous year.

Atmosphere and Haunted House Prep

The room was set up with reserved seating.  Upon check-in, your party is taken to your table where you find the provided supplies waiting for you.

Provided Haunted House Supplies

Sugar Ghosts & Marshmallow Peeps Ghosts

Jelly Beans & A Gumball Eyeball

Jack-o-Lantern Gumballs

Sprinkles & "Sixlet" Candies

After threatening my children about NOT eating the decor, we sat and waited for the event to get going.  While waiting, servers came around to take drink and food orders.  Non-alcoholic drinks are included in the workshop price.  So, to make things even more awesome, my kids were all hopped up on soda!

A special lunch menu was also available at this time, but we chose not to eat lunch, and just ordered some French Fries to much on while we worked.

Special Lunch Menu

Garlic Fries

French Fries

After ordering, we spent a few minutes organizing the goodies my friend brought for us to “enhance” our haunted houses. Thank goodness for Michael’s Arts & Crafts!

So thankful for a stop at Michael's!

Some more of our "extras"

While we were deciding on which of our extra embellishments to use, I looked around to scope out the competition… I mean other families.  It was pretty serious.  There were people with bags and bags of candies, gummies, special tubes of frosting, and the family behind us even brought their own figurines to make a “Nightmare Before Christmas” haunted house (they were obviously pros from the previous year).

As soon as our frosting was delivered, it was time to get started…

Frosting Delivery

Ready to Get Started!

Haunted House Construction

Our instructor was head Executive Chef Darrin Finkel.  He gave us verbal instruction while his assistant demonstrated how to construct our house.  The first step was to lay all of the house pieces face down so that there was an open square shape in between them.

Step 1

After the walls were in position, it was time to pipe the frosting, creating a base for the house to stand on.  I will say that my husband was put in charge of the frosting.  It was really thick (unlike the junky stuff that comes with store bought kits) and was actually a little hard to squeeze out.

Piping the Foundation

Next, it was time to line the walls with frosting and raise them up!

Step 3

The walls are up!

Step 4 involved adding the icing to the roof pieces and attaching them.  Chef Darrin showed us exactly where we needed to frost.

Step 4: Adding the Roof

Chef Darrin Finkel

After the roof was attached, we were told to wait about 10 minutes for the frosting to harden and make the house more stable for decorating.  During this time the creative juices were flowing and I had the most awesome idea in the entire room (in my opinion at least).

Adding an orange roof line while we wait for the walls to dry.

My idea? Let’s use the bag o’ skeleton bones to make it look like the house landed on our skeleton!!! Awesome, right?

Death by Gingerbread!

After we added our smashed skeleton it was time to decorate, decorate, and decorate.  We piped the windows and added monsters!

Windows Piped

Next, we added lots of candy skulls, spiders, and more spiders.  We even topped the roof with two giant light up spiders being extra careful to make sure their behinds were hanging off the edge just enough to be able to use the on/off switch!  We also frosted the foil to give our house a “yard.”

Adding candy skulls to the windows.

Adding our spiders.

We even used the black net packaging from the skeleton to give our spiders a little “web.”

The frosting was thick enough to hold these big plastic beasts!

The Finished Product

So, after lots of sodas, lots of frosting, and lots of fun…. I give you my family’s masterpiece.

Haunted House Front Yard

Haunted House Side Yard

Haunted House "Other" Side Yard

Haunted House Back Yard

AND for your viewing pleasure, I took some photos of the creative houses around us.

And here’s the Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted House I was talking about:

"This is Halloween..."


The Haunted House Workshop was a great event.  We all had such a fun time collaborating and executing our ideas.  We’re already planning to go back in December for the Gingerbread House Workshop (I’ll be sure and post the info when registration opens).  AND we will for sure be back at this one next Halloween.

If you are in the Disneyland area, you still have time to register for the October 30th (THIS SUNDAY) Haunted House Workshop. Call Bruno Duarte at 714.776.5200 from 10am-4pm on Friday, October 28th to make your reservation.

Cost is $48 for one house, supplies, 2 seats, and unlimited non-alcoholic drinks.  More than two people in your group?  For $12 each you can purchase extra seats (includes drinks as well).

The price also includes a little goody bag for each child.  What’s in the goody bag? More candy of course!

Kid's Goody Bag

Has this inspired you to make your own Halloween Haunted Gingerbread House this weekend? What would yours look like? Let us know in the comments below!


  1. says

    I love that it looks like the red monster is eating the spider’s leg on the side of the house!!! What a fun event!!!

  2. Kim says

    Awesome hands-on event! So funny that we have to tell our kids not to eat the decorations. LOL I’d love to do this project at home with a side of those delicious fries! Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Katie says

    Is anyone else wondering if Heather and her husband actually let their boys help?? :) That looks like a great event.

  4. says

    @Katie – I swear we let the kids help! See the photo of that tiny hand adding skulls to the window? That’s my 7 year old ; ) I promise!

  5. Carolyn says

    Great jOb there! It’s so cute and delightfully spooky cool. What a fun event!! Your extras from Micheals were perfect. Fries look nummy too

  6. Devin says

    Ah, what fun! Awesome idea with the skeleton being smashed by the house… reminds me of the witch from The Wizard of Oz! Love it!

  7. Heather Sievers says

    @Miranda – This is at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in Anaheim. I don’t believe there is one at WDW.

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