Halloween Wars review: The Swarm attacks with drastic results


On this episode of Halloween Wars, the fear factor takes a sinister turn. From an unexpected revenge to a deadly swarm, the team sent home was surprising.

After this week’s Halloween Wars, only three teams will remain. While this season has gone bigger and bolder than ever before, every week the teams are only as good as their last display. Did this week’s theme cause drastic turn?

In this season, the top teams keep changing. One week a team does something totally outrageous only to make a big mistake and almost get sent home in the next episode. Again, in this Food Network competition, the team is only as good as the current Halloween display.

For this week’s small scare, the theme is a foodie’s worst night, a dinner’s revenge. The teams had to create a scene where the food fights back. From a killer burger to a pumpkin fighting back against pie, these themes had a little humor mixed into the fear.

Looking at the four teams’ displays, the clear winner was Frosted Freakshow’s killer burger. The theme was a little out of the box, but looked like it was from a Japanese graphic novel. Although it wasn’t perfect, it did balance the right amount of fear and humor.

The other displays were all relatively good. No one had huge mis-steps. One common criticism was the displays needed to be clearer or the perspective was off. Sometimes the smallest errors can make a huge difference.

While the small scare presented a horrible foodie nightmare, the Spine Chiller borrowed from a typical horror genre theme. The idea of a swarm attack can be terrifying. Whether covered in bugs or birds, no one wants to be overtaken by creatures.

Thinking about this theme, the teams needed to really bring the scary. Since the displays included a tasting element, they could have found a way to make that small bite fit into the creepy, crawly theme. In some ways, there were several opportunities lost.

The biggest takeaway from this week’s Halloween Wars Spine Chiller was size. The amount of items on each display was astounding. From numerous sugar crows to tuber bunnies, these teams filled the display with lots of elements.

That decision had both good and bad aspects to the Spine Chiller challenge. While pushing the difficulty level can be smart, the teams needed to execute well. 10 bunnies that are poorly done will never outweigh one perfectly executed bunny.

Cake artist Beth Townsend ,as seen on Halloween Wars, Season 9 photo provided by Food Network

Still, the teams all had very different displays. It was curious that more teams didn’t go the insect route. Maybe the decision to avoid the creepy and crawly was smart. That idea was a little more obvious.

Similar to the small scare, the teams with a little bit of humor hidden under the fright seemed to appeal to the judges more. The gigantic bunny in Buttercream Beasts display was a huge wow factor. Although scary, there was a little softer side. Maybe it was all that buttercream made to look like fur.

Additionally, the teams with unique elements received recognition from the judges. From Tater’s pumpkin fountain to the chocolate hydrant, these two elements impressed the judges. The teams thought outside of the box and executed well.

In this week’s Spine Chiller, the sugar art seemed to take a little back seat. While there were sugar crows, wings and that amazing chocolate hydrant, the sugar art needed a little boost. It seemed that the pumpkin and cake took center stage.

Looking back at the four “swarm” displays, the judges choice and this fan’s choice do not coincide. The judges choose Buttercream Beasts as the winner of this challenge. It seems like the judges thought this display had the details right. From the icing fur on the bunny to the multiplying rabbits, the story of rabid rabbits was clear.

Still, Trio of Terror really created something new with its pumpkin fountain. Not only did it work, but the crow design carved into each layer was quite impressive. Although the flavor of their tasting element was too white chocolate sweet, the pulled sugar crow vessel deserved some recognition. In some ways, the new pumpkin design deserved the win.

The bottom two teams were clear. Unfortunately, Frosted Freakshow continues to create mono-chromatic displays. While bees are yellow, the display needed more color depth to showcase all the amazing details.

The smartest part to their display was the tasting element. The honeycomb went with the theme, had a lovely texture and was delicious. That tasting element probably saved them.

Unfortunately, the team sent home was Burned at the Cake. Their display had a huge flaw; there was no focal point. If a person doesn’t know where to look, the display doesn’t work.

Additionally, the height of one of the insects was taller than the backboard. This additional mistake seemed to seal their fate.

In some ways, this team had the most creative tasting element. The caviar and panna cotta chocolate treat instantly had people thinking insects, but not in a gross way. It was a lovely flavor and a creative take on the tasting element.

While the cake displays were good, without a focal point, the display was destined to be eliminated on this episode of Halloween Wars.

With just three teams left in Halloween Wars Season 9, the title could go to either of the teams. Again, it will come down to which team can execute the best under pressure.

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Who do you think will win the Halloween Wars title this season? More importantly, did the right team get sent home this week?