Gingerbread houses are an important part of any Christmas tradition, many families use the time building them to celebrate the season together. The Keeling family decided to take that tradition to a new and slightly morbid level this year with their gingerbread interpretation of The Bates Motel from Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1960’s thriller Psycho.
Made entirely from edible material this master piece took 3 weeks to build from conception to completion with jaw dropping detail that any model maker would be envious over. I had a chance to speak with Aaron Keeling, one of the artists involved in the construction of this behemoth of a gingerbread house to ask him some questions about what went into it.
iHorror: Thank you for taking the time to talk to me today, I’m sure you are exhausted from all the work this took. How long did it take to create this monster?
Aaron Keeling: Thank you! My back is killing me from leaning over cookies for a week and my hands are stained with food coloring, but i think it was worth it. My dad started doing blueprints and baking pieces about 3 weeks ago, but once we all got together and started putting it up and decorating it took just under a week.
iH: Is everything edible?
AK: Everything is edible except for the base (which is made from styrofoam) and the lights. The windows are melted candles and the super clear windows for the interior scenes are made from thin sheets of gelatin.
iH: How many pounds of gingerbread did you have to use?
AK: We ended up using about 25 pounds of flour, 6 bottles of corn syrup, 3 pounds of butter, 4 pounds of brown sugar, 18 pounds of icing (two 9 pound bags of sugar) and a bunch of spices. It was probably 30 pounds of gingerbread that we made, though not all of it was used in the final piece.
iH: How large did the finished piece end up being?
AK: The finished piece was 4 feet by 4 feet at the base and about 2 feet high at the top of the house.
iH: Some of the detail is amazing, how did you do the carpets?
AK: The wallpaper and the pictures were posted on edible paper and the rugs were printed on thin sheets of fondant.
iH: How many people worked on the whole project all together?
AK: Our core family of 5 worked on it. My Dad, Mom, my brother Austin, my brother Carter, and myself. We had some help from three friends as well. So, 8 total, though not everyone worked on it the whole time.
iH: How did this tradition get started? Have they always been this big?
AK: The tradition got started about 30 years ago when my parents got married. We’ve been making a gingerbread house every year since then. Every year they get bigger and better! Last year was the first year we ever attempted to do the interior with our “Overlook Hotel” gingerbread.
iH: What is your favorite scene that you worked on?
AK: My favorite scene is the bathroom scene, because I loved flicking all the blood everywhere, haha. I definitely got a bit carried away with it, theres way more blood in our version than the movie, but it is more fun that way don’t you think?
Make sure you check out the whole shoot of The Gingerbread Bates Motel right here.
and if you want to check out The Keeling Family’s 2015 The Gingerbread Overlook Hotel go here.