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Spooky sweets: Third bite's the charm with 'Halloween Baking Championship'

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Andrew Warren / TV Media
Carla Hall, Zac Young and Lorraine Pascale as seen in "Halloween Baking Championship"

Carla Hall, Zac Young and Lorraine Pascale as seen in "Halloween Baking Championship"

It's that time of year again -- the temperature is dropping, the days are getting shorter and the kids are back in school. It can only mean one thing: Halloween is just around the corner. Never a network to let a festive holiday go unnoticed, Food Network has a special, spooky treat in store during the countdown to the scariest night of the year.

That treat is "Halloween Baking Championship," which returns for a third season Monday, Sept. 25. The TV home for all things food related has rolled out baking competitions for most of the major holidays over the past few years, and while they all follow roughly the same formula, the seasonal twists give each one its own unique flair. 

For this holiday, eight bakers from across America bring their terrifying talent to the kitchen. Comedian John Henson ("Wipeout") hosts as the contestants face a series of challenges intended to test not only their baking abilities, but also their creativity and imaginations.

In each episode, the bakers face two confectionery challenges intended to bring out the spirit of Halloween. In the premiere, the first challenge tests their decorating skills when they're challenged to make a dozen themed cookies that must be stuffed with some classic Halloween candies. Even more frightful is the second challenge, which comes with a terrifying twist. In it, the contestants must make a dessert with a fruit-flavored slime that oozes when it's cut, but which tastes positively delicious.

Of course, the competition isn't really scary -- it's just all in good fun. The focus here is firmly on the baking, and for the three judges, the only thing that matters is the finished confection. "The Chew" co-host Carla Hall, bestselling cookbook author Lorraine Pascale and celebrity pastry chef Zac Young bring their palates to the kitchen.

If there's anything the contestants should be terrified of, it's these three: at the end of each episode, they choose one baker to go home empty-handed, whittling down the group until only one remains to take home the $25,000 grand prize. And if that isn't sweet enough, the winner gets the title of Halloween Baking Champion, too.

There are more treats than tricks with "Halloween Baking Championship," premiering Monday, Sept. 25, on Food Network.