Since April, Loren Stanard has had to keep her Food Network Halloween Cookie Challenge winning title a secret — until now.
Stanard won $10,000 after competing in the second season of the cookie competition, which aired on October 2. Tears and shock were visible on Stanard’s face when the hosts called her name.
“When I won, I literally said ‘shut up’ and started crying for about 10 minutes,” Stanard said. “I was like in shock. I kind of passed out.”
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During the competition, Stanard and four other contestants, including her boyfriend Nolan Schooley of Billerica, had to complete two challenges.
The first challenge was to decorate half-face makeup cookies, with one side of the cookie being a self-portrait while the other half showed off “their scary makeup.”
For the “scary” half of the cookie, Stanard designed a “creepy” Frankenstein.
Stanard, who is a tattoo artist A raven in a cage in Worcester, she stated that this mid-way drying challenge “felt very natural” to her, explaining that “a tattoo is like dipping a cookie, but it’s like stabbing someone’s skin.”
In the second challenge, the contestants had to make a life-size oozing zombie part out of biscuits using ingredients such as blackberry jam, orange marmalade, raspberry jam and cranberry sauce.
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Stanard created a zombie leg with an interactive part where the middle bone of the leg, which protruded from the ankle, popped up and broke the cookie in half, with bone marrow oozing out.
“It was disgusting,” she remarked.
Stanard used to be a full-time baker, but during the COVID pandemic, she decided to switch to tattooing because she needed a break from baking.
“It’s just crazy, it’s an honor for me to be able to go on a show and be like, I haven’t baked for a while and I haven’t been a professional. To get the opportunity and the recognition was really huge,” Stanard said.
Filming took place in April in California over several days, and Stanard had to keep the announcement a secret until October, which was difficult for her.
“A lot of people didn’t know about it,” Stanard said. “I’ve had to keep it a secret since April so it’s been really hard because I’ve been talking to people every day at work so trying to keep it under wraps has been really hard.”
Being a part of filming this competition “lit a fire” under her, motivating Stanard to continue working on her cookbook, which she started when she was 13 years old. Stanard also said she hopes more people will be interested in getting tattoos from her as she continues to grow as an artist.
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The competition gave Stanard a few gray hairs and anxiety, but she also found her best friend, Schooley.
“Nolan was on my episode and it was like an instant connection,” Stanard said.
“We met at the show,” Schooley said. “I remember walking into the room and seeing her and immediately being like, ‘We’re going to be best friends…’ We’re soulmates, we’re almost the same person, and the universe literally brought us together and I’m so grateful.”
After the competition, Stanard tattooed a mosaic of Audrey Hepburn on Schooley, which she said was “one of my favorite tattoos I’ve done”.
Another Massachusetts baker, Aisling O’Sullivan of Auburn, competed in a separate episode that aired on September 25, but did not win.
Check out Food Network’s Halloween Cookie Challenge for details and episode guides Website.