This Is Carolina: ‘The Gingerbread Ladies’ trade candy canes for pumpkins to compete on Food Network

‘The Gingerbread Ladies’ trade candy canes for pumpkins to compete on Food Network

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Millions of people will celebrate Halloween with costumes, candy, haunted houses and movies on the 31st of October.

But, not many will celebrate by decorating a gingerbread house, Halloween style.

A mother-dauther duo from Conway did just that on the Food Network’s Haunted Halloween Showdown inaugural seasonal series.

“I decided I was going to make them a gingerbread house for Christmas, they were like 3 or 4 years old,” the original ‘gingerbread lady,’ Sharon Buckwell, told WMBF News.

“Little did she know what she was getting into!” Buckwell’s daughter, Sarah Cummings, added.

The duo make-up The Gingerbread Ladies gingerbread house-making company, based out of Conway.

“It was just really cool because it was something I could give them that no other kids had. And I just love gingerbread houses and I love Christmas,” Buckwell said of the inspiration behind her business.

But, Buckwell and Cummings had no idea their business would put them on the map when it came to gingerbread making.

For Buckwell, it all started with seeing an advertisement for Food Network’s Haunted Halloween Showdown casting.

“Casting skilled bakers and pastry chefs for a Halloween competition special…well I’m not that skilled…but you know, I might be a little bit talented…what the heck! I’ll just give it a try. Next thing I know they’re calling me, doing interviews and I was on the Haunted Halloween Showdown!”

The Food Network first went to Buckwell’s home, and filmed them baking and building the first part’s of their piece for the show.

Buckwell flew to Denver to be in the competition, Cummings stayed behind because of health issues.

The episode featuring Buckwell and her piece, a haunted Halloween carnival, aired Sunday.

The episode featured a lot of suspense, especially after Buckwell’s almost-finished piece fell to the ground.

However, she pulled out a win and is headed to this Sunday’s finals, airing on the Food Network.

“I mean my whole piece was on the floor? How can you recover and win?” Buckwell said, laughing. Despite the tumble, the piece ended up perfect. “(It had) tents with the games…a kissing booth with the witch with mummies with all the signs…it just seemed to fit together with the theme."

Buckwell and Cummings compete in gingerbread competitions around the Pee Dee and Grand Strand annually.

They’re quite the crafters, and their pieces are stand-out. Now, the two women are switching into full Christmas mode, preparing and baking for an estimated 1,000 gingerbread houses to be built and decorated by Christmas.

The women said it’s special to work with each other, and enjoy the smiles their homemade, home baked gingerbread homes bring to others.

With everything totally edible, and totally made from scratch, they have a lot of work ahead of them.

“We’re both competitors but we enjoy the challenge of working together, and we love being in the kitchen together. We do.”

Buckwell is a 911 supervisor, but gingerbread-making is her escape. Look for more of their story in December during the WMBF News holiday special.

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