Guess who’s coming back to Halloween Wars this season? (Hint: It’s not Zak Bagans)

Host Jonathan Bennett with Judges Aarti Sequeira and Shinmin Li, as seen on Halloween Wars, Season 13.
Host Jonathan Bennett with Judges Aarti Sequeira and Shinmin Li, as seen on Halloween Wars, Season 13. /

BIG Halloween Wars news has just come to us from Food Network, and longtime fans of the series should be very happy!

For the past two seasons, Ghost Adventures Zak Bagans has been the off-set host for Halloween Wars, taking over for prior host Jonathan Bennett. It’s a move that fans of the series haven’t seemed too happy about, because Bagans just wasn’t a great fit. He’s the lead investigator for Ghost Adventures (and he’s good at that), it just didn’t seem like he clicked on Halloween Wars.

It was weird having him pop in via video for each episode, rather than being there in person to interact with the teams. It also felt like he was there in part to push his Haunted Museum in Vegas, frequently using the haunted items housed there as inspiration for the challenges.

The guest judges were on set in person, of course, and that helped some, but for fans like myself, something was just missing.

Halloween Wars
Host Jonathan Bennett introduces the first Small Scare Challenge, as seen on Halloween Wars, Season 9. photo provided by Food Network /

So, who is the new host for Halloween Wars this season?

The “new” host is not actually new at all; Jonathan Bennett will be returning to Halloween Wars as the host! He was a much better fit with Halloween Wars, acting goofy and joking around with the judges and the contestants, so I personally look forward to his return.

Halloween Wars will make its season premiere on Sunday, September 17th, 9:00 p.m. ET. Subsequent episodes will debut on Food Network each Sunday thereafter at the same time. Here’s a breakdown of what this season will bring to the spooky baked good table:

"“Over the course of the eight-episode season, nine teams made up of pumpkin carvers, cake bakers, and sugar artists brave a haunted house as they are challenged to create killer Halloween cake displays that are as spooky as they are tasty. Throughout the season, challenges will be inspired by monster mashups, killer clowns, supernatural thrillers and more. One team will be eliminated in each episode by a panel of judges featuring award-winning cake decorator Shinmin Li, and chef and cookbook author Aarti Sequeira with host Jonathan Bennett. In the end the last team standing will earn $25,000.”"

Here’s a sneak preview of what you’ll see in the first two episodes:

Sunday, September 17: Terrifying Nursery Rhymes – In round one, the teams – consisting of cake and sugar artists and pumpkin carvers – must bake and decorate a display that revolves around well-known fairy tales with terrifying origins. It’s up to judges Shinmin Li and Aarti Sequeria to decide which team goes home and which teams move on to round two.

Sunday, September 24: Good vs. Evil – In round two, three new teams are given the challenge of creating displays that show a battle of good versus evil. The judges again must decide which two teams will move onward, and which will have to say goodbye.

For those of us who like to get the background of the contestants, Road to Halloween Wars will document the search for the 27 best sugar artists, cake artists and pumpkin carvers to make up this year’s Halloween Wars teams. Road to Halloween Wars will run right before the first episode of Halloween Wars, at 8:00 p.m. on September 17.

For even more fun, follow Food Network’s social media platforms as Jonathan Bennett accepts some mini challenges, and Shinmin Li shares her delicious frosting tips to help you make your own baking even better. Join in on the conversation using #HalloweenWars!

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