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Spooky sweets: ‘Halloween Wars’ returns for ‘unlucky’ Season 13

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Caroline Collacutt / TV Media
Jonathan Bennett from “Halloween Wars”

Jonathan Bennett from “Halloween Wars”

A fan-favorite for foodies and Halloween lovers alike, this seasonal series has revived itself once again, ushering in autumn alongside a familiar face as Jonathan Bennett (“Mean Girls,” 2004) returns to host the latest (and spookiest) season of “Halloween Wars,” premiering Sunday, Sept. 17, on Food Network. 

After leaving the series during Season 11 to focus back in on his acting career, Bennett now returns to the “Halloween Wars” kitchen, replacing interim host Zak Bagans (“Ghost Adventures”), who appeared as a ghostly, virtual host for the past two years. "It's so exciting!” Bennett shared in a recent interview. “I was off the show for a few years and this is my triumphant return. I'm coming back for season 13. That is even more exciting because it plays right into the spookiness of all of it.” 

Returning alongside Bennett are some of the series’ fan-favorite, classic components, including pumpkin carving, cake decorating and sugar blowing — but be prepared for shocks galore, as this unlucky season promises some new and exciting surprises along the way. 

The series' first three episodes act as the “Halloween Wars” qualifying rounds, with Bennett asking the teams to complete a series of increasingly difficult tasks, including the “Monster Mashup,” where each group must choose two of the scariest monsters imaginable and meld both into one ghastly creation; a round based on the 1973 classic film, “The Exorcist;” and a fairy tale-based challenge that just may lead to one team’s “happily ever after,” as this season’s judges — Aarti Sequeira (Season 6 winner of “Food Network Star”) and Shinmin Li (“Holiday Wars”) — eliminate one bunch of bakers, carvers and confectioners each round. 

Following episodes will be split into two challenges: the “Small Scare,” where teams have 45 minutes to complete an edible interpretation of a spooky theme, and the “Spine Chiller,” where the time limit is extended to five hours, allowing for ultimate creativity. 

Keeping to theme for this 13th season, this year’s teams feature some of the show’s spookiest puns yet, with names like Team Sweet Screams, Pumpkins Up the Volume, Snax Sabbath, Spice Ghouls, Pumpkin Posse, Trick or Sweet and more, with each team hopeful to prove their deliciously deadly talent in the kitchen and win the final, $50,000 grand prize. 

Season 13 of “Halloween Wars” begins Sunday, Sept. 17, on Food Network.