Halloween popcorn balls are fun and easy to make.

Halloween Popcorn Balls

There’s nothing more festive than Halloween popcorn balls. It’s a salty, sweet and fun treat to make! This classic and old-time dessert often appears during the holidays. While you can purchase these in a bag, there’s nothing like making your own holiday candy at home.

Ingredients

These Halloween popcorn balls are made with staples in any household.

Plain popcorn balls are perfect for the holiday season.
Plain popcorn balls are perfect for the holiday season.
  • Popcorn: A staple for popcorn balls!
  • Sugar: Sugar mixed with cornsyrup gives the mixture a sweet and palatable taste.
  • Corn syrup: A light cornsyrup will make the sugar mixture pliable. If you want to make carmel popcorn ball instead, omit the cornsyrup.
  • Butter: Who doesn’t like adding butter? Adding butter here will making the sugar easier to work with.
  • Vanilla: Flavoring compliments the cornsyrup and gives the popcorn balls more depth of flavor.
  • Decorations: You can decorate any way you’d like! Sprinkles or food coloring are very popular.

How to Make Halloween Popcorn Balls

Making these popcorn balls will only take you about 15 minutes of hands-on time in the kitchen.

The very first thing you’re going to want to start with is your popcorn. Pop about eight cups of it. You can either pop the kernels that you buy in a large bag or you can make bagged microwaved popcorn.

After you’ve popped your popcorn, take a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. This is an important step because you are going to pour your candy topping on it. The parchment will not only prevent sticking but will also make clean up a breeze. After linking the baking sheet, pour your popcorn onto the baking sheet and set it aside.

You can either use microwave popcorn or popping corn that you’ve purchased in bulk.

Spread popcorn out on wax or parchment paper
Spread popcorn out on wax or parchment paper

In a large and heavy saucepan, add in your sugar, light corn syrup and water and heat until the sugar mixture reaches 235 degrees. Use a candy thermometer to measure the temperature. I include a picture so you can see what your mixture should look like at this stage.

Bring your sugar to 235 degrees F. It will look like this.
Bring your sugar to 235 degrees F. It will look like this.

After the sugar reaches 235 degrees F., take it off the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Pour it over the popcorn and let it sit for about five minutes. The mixture will burn your hands if you touch it and it will be too hot to hold together if you touch it immediately anyway.

Once it is cool enough to touch, begin to form the balls with your hands. Pick up about a cup of the popcorn with your hands and hold it together for about 15 seconds. Place your freshly made Halloween popcorn balls on wax paper so they don’t stick.

Making Pumpkin Popcorn Balls

Feeling particularly festive? Make pumpkins instead of plain popcorn balls for Halloween or Thanksgiving this year.

Feeling festive? Make pumpkins for Halloween this year.
Feeling festive? Make pumpkins for Halloween this year.

Making these adorable pumpkins is much more straight-forward than it might seem. Just dye the corn syrup mixture orange before pouring it onto the popcorn. And then when shaping the balls, take either a piece Kit Kat or a Tootsie Roll and place in the center. If it isn’t sticking, use some of the extra corn syrup mixture as “glue” to help it stick. For the leaf, you can either use a green leaf candy or use a knife and cut a leaf out of an Airhead.

Don’t quite feel like making pumpkins this year? Add in M&M’s or sprinkles to your popcorn before adding the corn syrup. Add in any kind of candy that you and your kids like to eat and serve to guests.

Storing Popcorn Balls

While these popcorn balls will taste best the day that they are made, it’s best to wrap them individually in plastic wrap and then put them in an airtight container. There’s no need to refrigerate them.

More Halloween Recipes

Looking for more Halloween fun? Look below for some more recipes for the upcoming holiday.

Halloween Popcorn Balls

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Sarah Course: DessertCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

8

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking time

10

minutes
Calories

150

kcal

Makes 8 popcorn balls.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups popped popcorn

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 cup light corn syrup

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 4 tbsp butter

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • orange gel food dye, optional

  • candy decorations, optional (Tootsie Rolls, Kit Kats, green leaf candy)

Directions

  • Pop popcorn and place popcorn on a lined baking sheet.
  • In a heavy saucepan or dutch oven, add the sugar, light corn syrup, water and salt. Heat over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and a thermometer reads 235 F.
  • At 235 degrees, remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Pour the mixture over the popcorn and let it cool for about 5 minutes, then form into balls. If the mixture is still too hot to the touch, let it cool a bit more.
  • Pick up about a cup at a time and press the mixture together between your hands and hold for 15 seconds. A popcorn ball will form.
  • Let the balls harden for about an hour, undisturbed. Then serve.
  • Store popcorn balls in an airtight container for up to one week.
  • To Make Pumpkin Popcorn Balls:
  • If making pumpkin popcorn balls, use plain popcorn ball instructions above. Add 5 drops of gel orange food dye to the corn syrup mix when you add the butter. Mix well.
  • After forming the popcorn balls, take a Tootsie Roll or half a Kit Kat and place into the ball. Add more corn syrup mixture as “glue” if it seems to fall out.
  • Use a leaf candy or cut a leaf out of a green Airheads candy. Place next to the Tootsie Roll stem.
  • Serve.

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