Jonathan Bennett grew up wanting to host a TV show.
It took him some time to get there, but his role as host of Food Network’s “Halloween Wars” is super-sweet.
“Stepping into something like this show is phenomenal for me,” he says. “It’s a job where I get to be myself.”
Bennett is back for the series’ 10th season, which starts at 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13, on Food Network. An hour before the premiere at 6 p.m., there is an hourlong show featuring the contestants on the 10th season.
The series returns to challenge six teams made up of an expert pumpkin carver, a cake artist and a master sugar artist, as they create frighteningly fun and intricate edible displays over five episodes that are spooky as they are tasty.
The creations are judged by award-winning cake decorator Shinmin Li, horror film special effects master Todd Tucker and a rotating panel of celebrity guest judges, including Guillermo Díaz, Jocelin Donahue, Marisol Nichols, Katie Sarife and Jeremy Ray Taylor.
The last team standing takes home $50,000.
Of course, there are some perks to the job, Bennett says.
“Not only do I get to host, but I get to eat the treats every episode,” he says during a break from filming a movie in Canada. “My favorites are anything peanut butter or caramel.”
Bennett filmed the series before the pandemic.
He says the shooting schedule consisted of long days – always more than 12 hours.
“We shoot for 12 hours to get one hour of TV,” he says. “That’s a lot of being on for me. The biggest chunk of the show is at 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.”
Bennett says once he got onto the set, he would have to film his monologues for the show.
Then at the end of the day, he’d have to record again with a monologue closing the show.
“I would go through the day between taking 20-minute naps and guzzling coffee,” he says. “The other time was spent coming up with skits and dialogue for the show. Of course, I’d peek in to see how the contestants were doing. It was completely nonstop for me.”
As host of the series, Bennett is also able to branch out to a new audience because he’s mostly done film work in the past. He’s also grown to love the series even more.
“What I love about this season of ‘Halloween Wars’ is the amount of twists and turns,” he says. “Season 10 is where we switch it up and have surprises around every corner.”
Bennett also felt comfortable when Food Network approached him to be the host of the show.
“The first day of filming, I walked up and asked what the producers wanted from me in the role,” he says. “They told me, ‘We hired Jonathan Bennett. Just go be yourself.’ It dawned on me that I get to show up every day and not play a character. I love to host, and I love being around people. The best part of the job, though, are the treats.”