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Henson's horrors: 'Halloween Baking Championship' returns for spooky season

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Caroline Collacutt / TV Media
Carla Hall from “Halloween Baking Championship”

Carla Hall from “Halloween Baking Championship”

Kids are in school, “PSLs” are back, and that can only mean one thing: “Spooky Season” is right around the corner. Pumpkin-flavored everything, apple pies galore, cinnamon practically hanging in the air — no one does Autumn like Food Network, delighting with more tricks and treats in a new season of “Halloween Baking Championship,” premiering Monday, Sept. 11.

Season 9 of the competition sees the return of John Henson (“Wipeout”) as host, alongside the all-star panel of celebrity judges who reigned supreme in Season 8: chef Carla Hall (“The Chew”) and patissiers Stephanie Boswell (“Bake Or Break”) and Zac Young (“Top Chef: Just Desserts”).

Food Network has released descriptions for the series' first two episodes. According to the network, the season begins as "host John Henson welcomes a dozen bakers to the Henson & Sons Carnival, where they're ready for the ride of their lives. First, they must layer a 'tarot-misu' depicting the carnival's untimely demise. Then, the bakers scare up a new carnival mascot by designing creepy clown cakes."

Those lucky enough to make it to the second episode will face a frightfully gory night, with the Food Network promising a particularly “bloody” competition. “Do-nut try to steal John Henson's dream job,” they say, “or things might get bloody. The remaining bakers make bloody filled doughnuts to commemorate an unfortunate accident. Then it's a joyful bake for some and doomed one for others as the competitors take judges [Hall, Boswell and Young] round and round on the creepiest carousel ever.”

Each episode will see two rounds of spine-chilling competition. The bakers begin with the “Preliminary Heat,” where they receive a bite-sized, Halloween-themed challenge that must be completed within a tight time frame. The patissier who presents the spookiest (and most delicious) treat will gain a mystery advantage — a trick to play against their fellow bakers, perhaps — heading into the “Main Heat.”

This second round sees some intense frights and delights, as competitors are given a new theme and a longer time period to create whatever creepy-crawly confection they’d like. The bakers must present something larger than life, as the winner of the “Main Heat” immediately advances to the next round while one baker is eliminated from the game. The final three (or four) then compete in a winner-take-all finale, with one monstrous baker winning $25,000.

Sharpen your teeth and prepare to dine. Season 9 of “Halloween Baking Championship” begins Monday, Sept. 11, on Food Network.