The other day as I was hanging up a ‘Happy Halloween’ banner I purchased, I got to thinking about Halloween decorations and new ways to DIY them. I have also been trying to dream up unique Halloween food ideas. And this is when I had that A-HA moment! Why not combine the two? Iced sugar cookies are a fairly common go to Halloween treat, but why be stuck with cookies on a plate when you could display them as decorations too? That is when my idea for a sugar cookie ‘Happy Halloween” banner came into being. Yes, you read that right, banner. So, off I went to test out my idea.
The good news is, it worked. Sort of. The bad news is, there were a few flaws in my plan. But luckily I learned the mistakes and am able to pass on the tips to you so that you will hopefully have success in your attempt!
First things first.
You have to make the cookies. I tried two different recipes. One which yielded a cookie that spread more, but was much tastier, and the other that had cookies with no spread, but were much more brittle. Unfortunately for this project, it meant that the cookie made with the second recipe broke shortly after being hung up. But luckily the cookies made with the first recipe stayed up just fine. So there in is lesson #1. You need a good cookie recipe! Here is the one that worked best for me.
These guys held up perfectly for me. It was the Halloween letters that I had issues with (namely W, E, and N).
The second issue I ran into was that the last two cookies made at the end of the batch (using the recipe above) also broke shortly after hanging. This was due to the excess flour that ended up in the dough after rolling the cookie dough out so many times. So try your best to get all your letters from the first or second rolling instead of rolling out the dough 5 or 6 times and letting your 2 year old play with it as you worked like I did.
Using that knowledge, go ahead and make your cookie dough and roll it out. I just used a paring knife to cut my cookies out because I didn’t have cookie cutters large enough for what I wanted. But if you have them, by all means use them. Or you can do a small mini version with regular letter cutters. To make my letters, I cut out rectangles from the dough (all at approximately same size). Then I used my paring knife to cut one letter out of each rectangle. The last step was to use a straw to punch two holes in each letter for hanging.
Once my cookies were baked, I got work decorating them with royal icing in black, orange, and white. Here are some of the designs I made.
Once the icing was complete, I let the cookies sit out for a day to make sure the royal icing was nice and dry. Then it was time to thread the cookies! I used some 1/4″ ribbon (with taped ends) to thread through the holes in the cookies. Then secured them up on the wall by tying the ends of the ribbon to two eye screws I screwed in to the wall. You will need two eye screws for each cookie strand.
That brings me to my last recommendation for a successful cookie banner. Make sure not to make your banner too heavy. The HAPPY held up fine because it was only 5 letters, but the HALLOWEEN was just too heavy. I would suggest either using a different phrase (TRICK – OR – TREAT for example), stringing the Halloween on two different strands, or using a brace screw in the middle of the word to relieve some tension. This may not be an issue if you do smaller letters, because the weight would be considerably less, but with the heavy almost 5 inch high letters, the tension on the crumbly, end of the batch, flour heavy cookies was just too much.
It was pretty while it lasted, and now that I know the tricks, I am sure that my next one for my daughters actual party will be successful and so much fun for the kids to look at and then break the cookies off of to eat. If you decide to give it a try, please let me know how it goes for you. And I will be sure to update the post when I make my next banner to let you all know how it fares. Until then, I will leave you with a few photos of the non broken letters!