How to Throw a Cookie Decorating Contest Party

How to and Throw a Cookie Decorating Contest Party for Adults with Free Printable Voting Ballots

You know I’m a sucker for an adult theme party like the chili cook off I had or the Couples Olympics.

Having a kid’s cookie decorating party is fun, but I must tell you that one of my most fun holiday parties I have ever had was an adult cookie decorating contest. WE HAD A BLAST. I am thinking about doing it again this year. Some of these ideas you can use for kids as well.

Types of Cookie Decorating Contests

You can provide any type of cookie(s) you want! You can make them yourself or buy them. The most common types of cookies for a cookie decorating contests are:

  • Sugar Cookie Contest
  • Gingerbread Men/Women Contest (we did this one and the adults were SO creative that it was not only fun but hilarious at times)
  • Animal/Holiday Shaped Cookie Contest


  1. Make the cookies the day or night before. Be sure to bake enough so that your guests can decorate (and eat) more than one cookie. Three to five cookies per person is a good calculation. If you have left overs, your guests can bring them home.
  2. Create a work station. Set up tables and chairs according to the number of guests. Cover the tables with disposable plastic table clothes or butcher paper. It will get messy and you want the easiest clean up if your hosting (am I right??)!
  3. Gather the supplies. Provide plastic knives or spatulas and different colors of icing and toppings. Besides sprinkles, have chocolate chips, mini candy canes, small candies (M&M’s, gumdrops, licorice laces), mini cookies, etc. so that your guests (and you) can get creative. To save on costs, divide sprinkle and topping bottles into small dishes for each station, this way you don’t need an entire bottle/jar for each table.
  4. Another option is to have a “decorating bar” where guests can walk up, take the toppings of their choice and bring it back to their seat.
  5. Serve milk! It can be flavored too.

If you are throwing an adult cookie decorating contest, I recommend throwing the party after dinner time.  This way you cut down on costs and can provide snacks and appetizers and not a full meal. You can also serve some fun adult beverages as well or on the invite tell your guests to BYOB!

Cookie Judging Categories

Each cookie should be judged with the following three categories which are:

  • Creativity
  • Originality
  • Overall Impression

Each category is rated from 1-5 and provided on the free printable.

You can get the free printables here: Cookie Decorating Contest Ballots and Cookie Number Labels

Judging and Rules

  1. Print out the free Cookie Decorating Contest Ballots and the number labels. Important: Make sure that each person judges every cookie!
  2. Display the final cookies in one area with the number next to it. Don’t forget pens or pencils!
  3. You cannot judge your own cookie.
  4. Judge all cookies in each category with a 1-5 rating.
  5. The host or hostess tallies up the scores.
  6. Most points wins!

Ideas for Prizes

  1. A fun DIY trophy
  2. Gift cards, cookie themed gift basket, movie tickets, cash, bottle of wine
  3. Bragging rights
  4. Have a small entry fee, then have all the proceeds donated to a charity of the winner’s choice.

Provide to-go bags or bakery boxes for your guests to take home their cookies.

Materials You May Need:

Below is a list of items you may need for your party. The links are Amazon affiliate links of recommended products.

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