Halloween Popcorn Balls are a tasty and festive homemade treat for Halloween! Perfect for trick-or-treaters or for a Halloween party favor!
These popcorn balls are also great for school parties or an edible favor since they are a nut-free snack! You can customize these popcorn balls for any party or holiday!
Customizable, Homemade Popcorn Balls For Parties!
These Halloween Popcorn Balls are so fun and festive, perfect for school parties or Halloween parties at home! A nut-free treat that should be on the “ok” list for bringing to school, but also a super fun treat for your Halloween parties at home.
But don’t stop there…this childhood favorite can be customized for any holiday or party! Just change the color of the food coloring and get decorations to match your theme.
Not only are these homemade popcorn balls nut-free, but they are inexpensive to make to boot! Plain popcorn balls without the chocolate dip or decoration cost less than 10 dollars for about 18 large popcorn balls!
How To Make Popcorn Balls
Making these Halloween Popcorn Balls couldn’t be easier! Just follow these step by step instructions to make this homemade dessert in just minutes!
Melt butter in corn syrup over medium-low heat. Once the butter has melted into the corn syrup, carefully pour in powdered sugar, vanilla extract and marshmallows and whisk to combine. This is the base for the popcorn balls, you can add any food coloring you like next, we’re adding orange for Halloween.
After the orange food coloring has been whisked into the corn syrup mixture, pour it over plain popcorn that’s either in a very large bowl or on a large sheet pan like we have here.
Let the corn syrup mixture cool for a minute, and then stir to coat all the popcorn with the syrup. We use a large spoon and our hands, but if they corn syrup is too hot for you, use two large spoons to stir together.
Once the popcorn is combined with the syrup, form into large baseball sized popcorn balls and set onto a baking sheet. The popcorn balls will tend to fall apart as they cool, so go back to each popcorn ball several times and press them back together into a ball.
Add melting chocolate wafers or chocolate chips to a double boiler, or in our case a glass bowl over a pot of water. You can also use the microwave to melt your chocolate, just heat in 30 second intervals and stir in between.
Dip the popcorn balls halfway into the chocolate and then coat with festive Halloween sprinkles, candy corn or M&M’s!
How Do You Get Popcorn To Stick Together?
As we mentioned above, homemade popcorn balls do need a little attention. When they start to cool, they’ll want to fall apart, losing their ball shape.
But we won’t let that happen. Go back to each popcorn ball a few times and squeeze them back into a ball shape as they cool. Once they get to room temperature, they will hold their shape.
The popcorn balls won’t stay together well when the corn syrup is too hot, but they also won’t form into a ball very well if the syrup gets too cold, so timing can be tricky. Let the popcorn coated in syrup cool for a couple of minutes, until it’s cool enough to handle, but still warm.
Can You Make Popcorn Balls In Advance?
Yes! These homemade treats are perfect for making ahead of time! Let the popcorn balls cool completely and then store them in an air tight container or wrap them in cellophane treat bags to keep fresh.
Of course, made fresh is best, but these homemade treats will keep for 3-4 days when properly stored.
What Kind Of Popcorn Should I Use For Popcorn Balls?
Here’s where the teams divide…most recipes will tell you to pop fresh popcorn to make these Halloween treats but you really don’t have to.
Grab a large bag of plain, salted popcorn at the grocery store and you’re ready to go. The bag we use is an 8 ounce bag and makes 18 large popcorn balls.
BUT if you don’t have a bag of popcorn and want to pop your own, you’ll need about 20 cups of popcorn for this recipe so a couple of large bags of microwave popcorn or stove top popped will work too!
Tips For Decorating Popcorn Balls
Instead of dipping these goodies into chocolate, you can mix sprinkles or small decorations right into the popcorn and corn syrup before forming into balls. Of course, this will only result in one kind of popcorn balls but it’s a super fun result, too!
If you do go for the chocolate dipped version like we did here, dip the popcorn ball into the chocolate an turn over in your hand to let the chocolate set for just about 30 seconds before dipping into the sprinkles or decorations.
When we use larger candy decorations like M&M’s or candy corn, we actually just place those onto the chocolate dipped balls by hand.
Looking For More Homemade Treats For Parties?
- Easy Bourbon Bacon Brittle
- Chocolate Fondue Recipe (with ideas for dessert boards!)
- Homemade Fortune Cookies
- Champagne Jell-O Shots
- Rum Balls
These Halloween Popcorn Balls are so fun and festive! Homemade popcorn balls decorated for Halloween with fun sprinkles, M&M’s and candy corn!
- 8 ounce bag air popped popcorn
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1/3 cup butter
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 20 drops orange food coloring
- 2 cups mini marshmallows
- 2 – 10 ounce packages dark or milk chocolate melting wafers
- Halloween decorations, sprinkles, chocolate candies, candy corn (see post for decoration ideas!)
- Pour the popcorn into a very large pot or a large, 21″ x 15″ sheet pan. If you don’t have a pot or sheet pan large enough, split the popcorn between two baking sheets, or 2 large pots.
- Pour the corn syrup into a medium size pot over medium heat. Add the butter and vanilla extract and whisk until melted. Pour the confectioner’s sugar into the pot, 1 cup at a time, whisking after each addition. Pour in the marshmallows and whisk until melted. Add the orange food coloring (or any color that you like) to the pot and whisk to combine.
- Pour the syrup over the popped popcorn. Wait a minute for the syrup to cool slightly, then use a large spoon and your hand (or two large spoons, our hands are used to heat!) to toss the popcorn and coat it in the syrup.
- Spray your hands with non-stick cooking spray, then grab a baseball sized amount of popcorn and squeeze while forming into a ball. Place the popcorn ball onto a baking sheet and then repeat with the rest of the popcorn until you have about 18 popcorn balls. As the popcorn balls cool, they’ll start to fall apart a little, so go back several times and squeeze them into a ball again before they cool completely. The popcorn balls should cool down and hold their shape after about an hour.
- Gather the Halloween decorations and place them into shallow bowls that are big enough to dip the popcorn balls into.
- Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 seconds intervals, stirring in between, until melted. Alternately, you can use a double boiler to melt the chocolate, or a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. Dip one half of the popcorn ball into the chocolate and then into desired candy coating. When using larger pieces of candy like candy corn or M&M’s, place the candy pieces onto the chocolate by hand.
- Let the decorated popcorn balls dry, chocolate side up until set. Store the popcorn balls in an air tight container or wrap in cellophane treat bags for handing out to trick-or-treaters or at parties.
Store: Store the popcorn balls in an air tight container or wrap in cellophane treat bags for handing out to trick-or-treaters or at parties. Popcorn balls can be made up to 3 days in advance.
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: mantitlement, homemade popcorn balls, halloween recipes, halloween desserts, halloween treats, homemade treats, nut-free treats, nut-free dessert