First, the do-it-yourself approach to homemade windows involves some danger if kids are involved. I've gone the boiled-sugar route, ending up with some nice-colored, amber-toned windows, but darn! Working with hot syrup! Plus, my homemade windows start to run after a while, making little unsightly rivers and puddles of amber-colored ooze.
I've had good luck melting crushed candy, although if you plan to keep your gingerbread house around for a month or so, you might get some eventual slight melting from certain types of candies. Why does that happen? Maybe it's the humidity in the house.
So far, cough drops have not let me down. For my Halloween House of Doom, I've selected a couple sacks of cheap, lemon-flavored cough drops. Look how pretty they are in the pic above! I grabbed Chuck's hammer, loaded the drops into a plastic bag and smacked 'em a few times. To create a little more interest, I also crushed some butterscotch pieces and mixed them in sparingly, to add a bit of an orange accent.
Line your cookie sheet with foil, carefully fill the window openings with the chunks and then pop everything into a 300 degree oven. Now, my oven is feisty. Sometimes the melting gets underway pretty quickly and other times, I have to bump up the heat a bit. Go figure. Just stand by the oven and keep an eye on things.
Once the windows are fused into place, melted all nice and smooth, remove the cookie sheet from the oven and set it on the range to cool. After it's completely cool, it's easy to peel the foil from the backs of the windows.
Make sure everything is cool and sturdy before you start assembling your walls. Here's a peek at how the windows turned out. Next: Some tips and hints for wall assembly. And yes, this Halloween house is going to be lit from the inside for a creepy, spooky effect.