Gingerbread cookies, a special Mercer Island Halloween tradition

October 25, 2015 | by Erin Sirianni

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unnamed (6)Most people think of gingerbread as a Christmas treat, but in the East Seattle neighborhood of Mercer Island, gingerbread has been delighting families on All Hallows Eve for years.

Islander Tara Reimers shares how her family came to inherit the tradition and how they keep it going strong:

We bought a 1910 house on the north end of Mercer Island in the East Seattle neighborhood almost five years ago. Our house has a long Halloween tradition of passing out gingerbread cookies to the kids trick-or-treating.

The cookie tradition began in 1945 by Vonnie Burchard. She continued the tradition until she sold the house in 1993 to Mary Ann Earls. Mary Ann continued the tradition until selling the house to us. Mary Ann generously gave us the original gingerbread cookie recipe, some halloween cookie cutters, and some tips. She said she makes about 400 cookies, freezes them, then decorates them & hands them out on Halloween. 400 cookies!

We moved into our house October 30th in 2011! In the weeks leading up to our move, we were busy baking gingerbread cookies when we should have been packing! (I was also 6 months pregnant with our second child at the time!) Our families came over Halloween night, and we were blown away by the response of all the neighbors and their kids. Everyone, from kids to parent to grandparents, was so excited and grateful that we had continued the tradition.

Needless to say, the halloween cookie tradition continues 69 years strong… We’ve made 275 so far and will decorate them in the coming weeks.  We love the tradition and are happy to carry it on.  ~Tara Reimers, 10/15/14

So if your family is trick-or-treating in the East Seattle neighborhood of Mercer Island and you find the house that hands out cookies instead of candy, you know you’ve found Mercer Island’s Gingerbread Cookie house.