In a bowl, cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a bowl, combine the molasses and water. In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with molasses mixture. Pour into a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan lined with waxed paper. Bake at 325° for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes; invert onto a wire rack. Remove waxed paper; cool completely.
In a bowl, cream shortening, butter and vanilla. Beat in confectioners' sugar and milk. Place 1/2 cup of frosting each in two bowls. Tint one red and leave the other white. Place 1/4 cup frosting in another bowl; tint gold. Place 1 cup of frosting in another bowl; tint dark tan.
Trace patterns onto waxed paper as directed and cut out. With a sharp knife, cut around patterns on gingerbread. Transfer cutouts onto a 16-in. x 11-in. covered board.
With tan frosting, frost girl's head, upper torso and bottom edge and boy's head, arms and legs. With gold, frost boy's overalls and make a heart centered at girl's waistline. Frost hear skirt red.
Cut a small hole in the corner of a pastry or plastic bag; insert round tip. Fill with remaining red frosting. Pipe buttons on boy, bow on girl and smile on both.
Prepare another bag; insert star tip and fill with white frosting. On both boy and girl, pipe a zigzag border at neckline and 1 in. from the tip of each arm. On the girl, pipe above and below the skirt and 1/4 in. from her feet. On the boy, pipe 1/4 in. from the top of his head, below shorts and 1/2 in. from the bottom of his feet. Insert M&M's for eyes. Yield: 12-15 servings.