Readers beware, you’re in for a scare… when you realise just how lucrative Halloween can be for the bakery market.

Fright night has become one of the most important dates in the calendar for UK bakers and, like Christmas when the festivities seemingly start earlier each year, the nation seems happy to embrace the spooky season for longer and longer.

“Halloween has become bigger and bigger in the UK, moving away from a one-day event to a week-long celebration that takes over the food and drink industry,” explains Jamie Bird, director of strategy at Birds Bakery. “Decorations, costumes and Halloween-inspired food is often seen in stores as early as the start of September; with this in mind, it’s important for bakers to ensure that they are developing their products in plenty of time to make the most of the celebrations.”

With more time to celebrate, what are the nation’s bakery businesses doing to cater to the occasion?

“Food is an important part of the Halloween occasion from every day treats to larger themed seasonal celebration cakes,” explains Miriam Bernhart, director of category bread & pastry solutions at CSM Ingredients. “With 48% of people prioritising food and drink before costumes, it’s important that bakers cater for the various occasions that customers are buying for.”

A brownie with swirls of orange, green and purple frosting on top with chocolate eyes

Source: CSM Ingredients

Bernhart expects spooky themed traybakes, as well as cookies, cakes, and doughnuts to be important products this year. They work well for Halloween parties as well as small treats in the run up to the spooky celebrations.

Tapping into the opportunity doesn’t have to be complex, as Jacqui Passmore, marketing manager UK and Ireland at Dawn Foods explains: “Keep it simple by putting a Halloween twist on your customers’ favourite bakes rather than introducing lots of new Halloween bakery lines and having to source in lots of different ingredients.”

This could be as easy as changing fondants or icings to a more Halloween appropriate colour – such as orange, bright green, purple, or black – adding spooky decorations or tapping into seasonal flavours. Decorations in the shape of eyeballs, ghosts, ghouls, and spiders also add to the occasion.

“Ready-made chocolate décor offers an ideal way to turn ordinary bakes into Halloween themed bakes with ease,” notes Samantha Rain, development chef at ingredients supplier Henley Bridge.

She also highlights the use of natural colourings to enhance spooky creations, such as beetroot powder or deZaan’s carbon black cocoa powder to create “ghoulishly black cakes and puddings”.

Passmore notes that, while Halloween is a profitable seasonal event, it is also a short window of opportunity. “So it is important to be creative, use mixes, for example, that you can use for other product lines across the year and add in some Halloween-themed extras,” she adds.

A man and a woman holding pumpkin themed pastries outside of Birds Bakery

Source: Birds Bakery

Birds Bakery Mike Holling and Lauren Milner with the Pumpkin Puffs

This is exactly what Birds Bakery does. With 60-plus stores across the East Midlands, the family-run bakery last year asked its customers to design a new product to be sold in its shops for Halloween. The winning product was a twist on a current customer favourite – the Elephant’s Foot cream cake.

“The product was developed into a pumpkin shape which was filled with chocolate orange cream, covered in orange icing, and finished with green chocolate for the pumpkin stalk,” says Bird. “Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, so this kind of activity allows us to shape our product range around them, ensuring we’re delivering products that are going to be well-received.”

Bids Bakery Halloween gingerbread people

Source: Birds Bakery

This year the bakery is set to introduce a selection of chocolate, confectionery, and baked goods, many of which are described as “seasonal takes on some of our bestselling items”. The line-up includes Orange Chocolate Frogs, milk chocolate Pumpkin Carriages, Gingerbread Mummies, Gingerbread Monsters, and a Halloween-inspired cupcake.

Fun for all ages

While most focus on family-friendly fun, it’s important to not overlook how beloved Halloween is for other generations.

“The varying age groups that Halloween appeals to should be a focus,” adds CSM’s Bernhart. “From younger age groups through to teenagers, Gen Z and Millennials and above, with trick or treating and parties, product ranges should make the most of this.”

The Hummingbird Bakery is catering to all ages from “children’s parties to more scary options” this year – although the specifics of what will be on offer are still under wraps. Simone Tasker, operations manager at The Hummingbird Bakery, assures that its celebration centrepieces will be “all American with a colourful mix of fun, spooky, and delicious”. Former frightful offerings from the London-based firm include celebrations cake laden with chocolate skulls and bones sticking out, with red velvet crumbs adding a sinister element to the decorations.

A bandaged 'mummy' hand holding a mummy themed cupcake

Source: The Hummingbird Bakery

For an interactive element, the business is set to launch at-home kits, which give consumers the opportunity to be creative and decorate their own Halloween cupcakes.

Interactivity is something expected to be successful at luring in more consumers this year.

“Bakery products that contain an element of surprise or offer interaction opportunities will especially elevate the experience for children,” notes Karen Jones, national account manager at decorations and inclusions manufacturer Nimbus Foods. “Favourites such as popping candy hidden inside a product or supplied sachets to allow for personalisation can add some real fun to bakery products.”

Making treats colourful and visually appealing can also help to garner engagement on social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, which Jones describes as “easy advertising opportunities”.

Embrace seasonal flavours for sure-fire sales

Thinking beyond ghosts and ghouls can help extend the seasonal sales opportunity to encompass Bonfire Night and autumn in general.

“It’s the perfect time for bakers to dial up the flavours of pumpkin, apple, citrus, and chocolate, as well using the spices associated with autumn such as cinnamon and nutmeg,” Passmore says.

A slice of Pumpkin Pie with whipped cream on top

Source: Getty Images

Chai is also on the list of warming, seasonal flavours alongside coffee and nostalgia-inducing flavours such as sticky toffee, apple crumble, and banoffee, which Jones believes will result in the likes of apple flapjacks, cinder toffee muffins and parkin-inspired mini bites.

“The popularity of coffee flavour, with its burnt and smoked tasting notes, is quietly brewing,” she adds. “Chocolate decorations with a coffee sponge to create a mocha-flavoured twist or adding butterscotch chips to chocolate-based cakes will deliver those smoky autumnal bonfire notes.”

Bedruthan Bakery in Cornwall will be embracing warm, spicy flavours for Halloween and autumn, with spiced orange, cinnamon, and apple high on the list, while candied orange, cinnamon sticks, torched meringue, and crumbles will be used for decoration.

“We will mainly be using autumnal flavours to adhere to the adults including pumpkins (classic pumpkin pie/vegan pumpkin spice cake), toasted marshmallow and smoked nuts will pair great for this season to lean towards an American classic – S’mores,” says Georgia Mugford, head pastry chef at Bedruthan Bakery.

Cinnamon swirls made by Bedruthan Bakery

Source: Bedruthan Baker

“Cinnamon rolls being our top seller means they will be staying on for the spooky season too! For children, and adults, we love making toffee apples and decorated classic Halloween biscuits, cupcakes and crispies every year.”

This season has also created opportunities in categories beyond sweet treats and party food as well.

“It’s easy to assume that Halloween and Bonfire is a relatively short-lived sales opportunity that impacts a small range of sectors, but over the past few years, the rise of the ‘big night in’ peaks around these occasions and has created a sales opportunity across the retail landscape – and in categories not immediately associated with the season, such as bakery,” notes Mark Frossell, senior national account manager at St Pierre Groupe, which owns the Baker Street brand.

Frossell highlights a 12% growth in rolls in the two weeks leading up to Bonfire Night when compared to the previous two weeks, adding more than £1.6m to the market.

Whether you create spellbinding sweet or savoury baked goods, hauntingly beautiful doughnuts or witch-worthy wares, be sure to embrace the spook and give your customers pumpkin to talk about.


Dawn Foods Halloween Blondie Bars

Source: Dawn Foods

Recipe: Halloween Monster Blondie Bars

One tray 60cm x 20cm, makes 30 pieces


Irca Coverdecor White: food colours: oran­ge/green/purple

Irca Coverdecor Dark for stripes

Sprinkle & Eyes

Blondie batter

1000g Dawn Blondie Mix

200g Unsalted melted butter

240g Water

1440g Total

Additional ingredients

150g Dawn Delicream Cocoa & Caramel Bake

150g Dawn Balance Crunchy Peanut Butter Filling


Blondie Batter

  • Add the Blondie Mix and the melted butter to the mixing bowl
  • Add the water and mix for 1 minute on slow speed and 3 minutes on medium speed


  • Spread into the baking tray.
  • Pipe the Cocoa-Caramel Delicream and the Crunchy Peanut Butter Filling on top of the batter. Swirl with a wooden stick.
  • Bake at 180°C in a deck oven for 35-38 minutes (or 160°C for a fan oven).
  • When cooled down, cut the traybake into bars 4x10 cm
  • Cover with Irca Coverdecor white (coloured with orange, green or purple food colouring) and decorate with dark chocolate stripes, sprinkles, and eyes.