Review: ‘Halloween Wars’ is as shockingly elegant as it is creepy

It’s finally back: on Sunday Oct. 2nd, Food Network’s “Halloween Wars” returned with its sixth season. The show began in 2011, and has returned for the month of October every year since. "Halloween Wars" is a seasonal spin on the popular show “Cupcake Wars.”

A chocolate cupcake with Halloween-colored sprinkles in an orange foil wrapper. (Courtesy/TheCulinaryGeek/Wikimedia Creative Commons)

The show features five teams of three who compete for the grand prize of $50,000 and the title of “Halloween Wars” champions. Each team consists of a cake artist, a candy craftsman and a pumpkin carver. Their job is to cohesively blend candy, cake and pumpkin into seamless and terrifying designs.

Every episode consists of a “small scare challenge” and a “spine chiller challenge,” which each having its own theme and requirements. For the small scare, the competitors are given 45 minutes to think of a story that fits the theme while frightening the judges with a creative design. The team that wins the small scare wins the advantage of an extra helper in the spine chiller.

For this challenge, the teams get five hours to make a spooky scene, complete with huge characters, a set and a tasting element. Whichever team loses this challenge gives up the chance to be the winners of “Halloween Wars” and the money prize.

The teams are critiqued by three judges, one of which is a guest judge who is usually a famous actor or actress from the horror genre. Some guest judges that have appeared on the show include R.L. Stine, Rob Zombie, Cassandra Peterson (Elvira) and Robin Atkin Downes.

Since there are five Sundays in October for the first time in the five years the show has been running for, there is an extra team - which means an extra episode.

What makes this show unique to the dozens of other food network competition shows is the design work that would not be possible without the unique look that pumpkin can create.

If you like Food Network competition, appreciate design work or are simply looking for a scare this October, I would definitely recommend this show.

Rating: 9/10

Cynthia Reinert is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at