Carla Hall dishes all the spooky secrets to Halloween Baking Championship

Host Carla Hall, as seen on Halloween Baking Championship, Season 6. Photo provided by Food Network
Host Carla Hall, as seen on Halloween Baking Championship, Season 6. Photo provided by Food Network /

Carla Hall takes over as host and judge on Halloween Baking Championship.

A new Halloween Baking Championship is brewing on Food Network and Carla Hall is stirring a wickedly good treat for everyone. In previous seasons, Hall has brought her vivacious personality to the judging table. In a new twist for the popular Halloween baking show, Hall is both host and judge. Luckily, Hall knows how to sprinkle a little spooky magic to keep these bakers focused on their goal.

For years, Carla Hall has delighted foodies and food TV fans. From being a fan favorite on Top Chef to The Chew co-host to her various judging roles on Food Network shows, Hall has always found a way to connect with viewers. Whether you have joined in a C&C Crafting activity, made one of her bright, pucker-inducing desserts, a classic comfort food recipe, or appreciated her honesty in her recent Instagram Recess sessions, Hall is like that special friend who always brings a smile to every occasion.

As the new season of Halloween Baking Championship begins, I had the opportunity to chat with Hall about the show, some of her favorite Halloween costumes and what fans can expect from the new season. Based on her comments, Monday night’s must watch food TV is definitely on the Food Network.

According to Hall, this Halloween Baking Championship is a “total departure from previous seasons”. She mentioned that the bakers are being introduced to a haunted house theme that will build throughout the season. The bakers journey through the different themed rooms of the haunted house each week.

Over the past couple of seasons, Food Network has set the tone with some amazing visuals. Hall mentioned that the “art department did an amazing job” creating the haunted house. She said that “viewers will want to tune in to see what room they journey to next.”

Given that this new approach is a first for Halloween Baking Championship, Food Network fans will need to tune in to see all the spooky scenes. If the bakers thought that the challenge was hard with the time constraints, the haunted scenes might heighten the fright levels.

As seen on other Food Network competitions, Hall can empathize with these competitors. Having literally been in their shoes, she understands that being creative under time constraints is not an easy task.

Hall said that she takes the “heart approach” when it comes to judging. While she can make an amazing dessert, she admits that she is not a technical baker.

She mentioned that she looks at the baker and take the whole approach to her commentary. For example, some home bakers might not go as extreme scary as some professional bakers. Appreciating the person behind the sweet treat is the reason why many people adore Hall.

Still, Hall isn’t afraid to make that tough call. She mentioned that there have been many “ugly delicious” desserts that have been presented to the judging table. Although the judges might have wished that they had eaten that plate with a blindfold, the visual does have an element of importance.

Hall admitted that the successful bakers have that “perfect balance” of flavor and appearance. She said no one really wants to eat a dessert that is a “hot mess,” but things can happen.

She believes that the home baker should first and foremost focus on taste. While that social media picture might look appetizing, no one can taste a photo.

In the end, she believes that taste will always win. Granted, that “totally busted” dessert might be a visual train wreck, but there can be some merit to the “ugly delicious” dessert. At the same time, the judges really want to see that balance of perfect bite, both in flavor and presentation.

Still, Hall understands that it is hard for these bakers. From the time constraints to the themes, thinking and reacting under the pressure is not easy. She mentioned that the bakers “need to find their legs in the competition and realize what they can do in the time constraints.” It is about calming the “brain that is going a thousand miles a minute” and realizing the tools that you have to compete within the competition’s constraints.

Hall gave a great example. The home baker can have a great cake recipe. Why not adapt that recipe to the challenges’ parameters. From switching ingredients to changing dimensions, it is all about working the challenge at hand.

At the same time, the bakers need to be mindful that they are competition in Halloween Baking Championship. Even though these shows are filmed when summer fruits are at the peak flavors, berries are not common fall flavors. The bakers need to adapt flavors to the current season.

Hall suggested that the home bakers watching can take a similar approach. Just because you love that strawberry shortcake doesn’t mean that it is the same dessert in the winter. Even just a little touch of balsamic to add nuance makes it adapt to the winter months.

Joining Hall on this new season is Zac Young and Stephanie Boswell. While Hall and Young have had a wonderful repartee in previous seasons, Boswell easily folded into the mix. Everyone should expect to see the three judges embrace the themes and the outrageous Halloween costumes.

While Hall did not reveal all the spooky secrets from the judging table, she did allude to some of her favorite costumes. It seems that everyone will have their jaw drop when she rocks a purple wig this season. Just maybe, that wig could make a reappearance on her Recess videos on Instagram.

Those judges’ costumes and the judges’ willingness to embrace that Halloween fun is part of the reason why people watch. Just like the spooky treats on the table, the fantasy characters behind the table are equally intriguing. Although there is not a “best costume” list, it would make a fun retrospective.

In the end, Carla Hall invites everyone to take a spooky stroll through the Food Network haunted house in this season’s Halloween Baking Championship. Whether the desserts are that perfect balance or a few might be a hot mess, this Food Network show is the lighthearted diversion that everyone needs right now.

Halloween Baking Championship Season 6 airs on Food Network Monday nights at 9 p.m.

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What is your favorite Carla Hall Halloween character from season’s past? What are you most excited to see in this new season?