Get ready to elevate your Halloween celebrations with a delightfully delicious treat that captures the spirit of the season. With our popcorn balls recipe for Halloween, you can add a dash of spookiness and a whole lot of fun to your festivities. These irresistible snacks or party favors offer the perfect combination of sweet and salty, making them a crowd-pleaser for both kids and adults.
These are not your traditional popcorn balls, or at least not the ones I grew up on. They are very similar to rice crispy treats with marshmallows and butter. No corn syrup or candy thermometer is involved.
This is a simple recipe that can easily be made in 20-30 minutes. This means you can throw them together in no time, but also means you can throw them together at the last minute. If you are anything like me, I am generally a last-minute kind of girl!
Whether you're hosting a spooky movie night or throwing a Halloween party, these popcorn balls will surely cast a spell on your taste buds and bring fun to your friends and family.
What kind of popcorn should I use to make popcorn balls?
Air-popped popcorn: Preferred choice for popcorn balls due to their light and fluffy texture. Air-popping provides a healthier option, as it doesn't require the use of oil. The resulting popcorn serves as a perfect base for popcorn balls, allowing other ingredients to adhere well.
Oil-popped popcorn on the stovetop: Another option for making popcorn balls is using oil-popped popcorn on the stovetop. By heating a pot with oil over medium heat, adding popcorn kernels, covering it with a lid, and shaking gently until popped, you can achieve a tasty popcorn base. This method adds a bit of richness and flavor to your popcorn balls.
Microwave popcorn (unflavored or light butter): If you're looking for a quick and convenient option, microwave popcorn can be used for popcorn balls. However, it's important to choose unflavored varieties and avoid pre-seasoned or flavored types. While it may not provide the same light and fluffy texture as air-popped popcorn, it can still serve as a decent base for your popcorn balls in a pinch.
Popcorn- I love to use Orville Redenbacker, it is cheap and you can purchase it just about everywhere. I use this inexpensive air popper that I love!
Butter- I prefer unsalted for mine.
Mini marshmallows- Full-size marshmallows can be used as well, but it is easier to burn them, so be sure to mix constantly.
Gel food coloring- I used purple, it is such a fun Halloween color. You can also use orange, black, or green. Or, don't let me dictate the color, use what you want! I went with orange food coloring on mine, but the sky is the limit.
Halloween sprinkles- there are so many fun options out there!
Candy eyeballs- these are optional, but also add a bit of spooky fun to the Halloween popcorn balls.
How to make
Are you ready to put together this fun treat? This easy recipe will come together in no time at all.
Pop the popcorn- Start by popping your popcorn. Whether it is in an air popper, with oil on the stovetop, or even microwave. Once it is popped, remove the unpopped kernels. Mine didn't have many, and they all settle in the bottom of the bowl, making them easy to remove.
In your large stockpot, melt the butter over low heat, then add in the marshmallows. Stir constantly until the marshmallows are melted.
Pour marshmallow mixture over your popped popcorn and mix well.
It is a bit of a sticky mess at this point. I like to spray my hands with non-stick spray or softened butter for the next part. Form your marshmallow popcorn balls and press them together. Now it is time to dress them up. Add in some well-placed candy eyes, Halloween sprinkles, candy corn, Reese's pieces, etc.
Be sure and press into the popcorn balls to hold them in place. This has to be done when the balls are soft so the candy pieces will stick.
Set the finished balls in a single later on a wax paper, or parchment-lined large baking sheet.
Large stock pot- This is a pretty big batch, so be sure you have a pan large enough to handle it!
Large bowl- This is the one I use most often.
Mixing spoon- A large spoon is a must for mixing together a big batch like this.
Air Popper- I was gifted this one several years ago and I just love it! Remember that you can also use microwave popcorn if you prefer.
Parchment paper- This will keep the balls from sticking to your baking sheet.
Plastic wrap- or cellophane bags to wrap your balls in when you finish.
How do you store my popcorn balls?
If you are getting ready for your Halloween parties and want to keep these fun Halloween treats fresh, you have a few options.
Whichever way you choose to store the popcorn balls, they need to be stored at ROOM TEMPERATURE.
First, you can form the balls into their ball shape and store them in an airtight container. The size of the container will depend on what size you form the popcorn balls into.
I like to place mine in treat bags and tie them with a cute Halloween ribbon. You can see in the photos how this looks. I am sure someone who is more crafty than I am, could make these even better.
They can also be stored in plastic bags. Large gallon-size Ziplock bags are an easy and inexpensive way to store them.
How long will my popcorn balls stay fresh?
While packaged rice crispy treats might have a long shelf life due to all the preservatives used, the shelf life of these popcorn balls.
These will hold well for 24 hours, and even up to 48 hours. After that, I really feel like the quality declines a bit.
I will be the first to admit that I am pickier than most. My boys have eaten these after 3 days and felt like they were still amazing.
So, let's just say, freshness and quality is a personal preferences too.
Why are my popcorn balls not sticking together?
Although these popcorn balls are really simple to make, there are a few things to watch for to ensure the popcorn balls will stick together.
The first is, be sure to measure correctly. Too much popcorn will result in not enough marshmallow mixture to go around, then they won't stick together.
Another thing to note is that the marshmallows will need to be melted all the way before you pour them over the popcorn.
Last, be sure and press the balls together firmly when you are forming the balls.
Using all these simple tips, this fun Halloween recipe will be a cinch to put together.
If you are looking for other Halloween inspiration for your party, let me share a few ideas with you.
Halloween Popcorn Balls Recipe
- 14 cups popped popcorn This can be airpopped or microwave
- 1 10-ounce bag mini marshmallows
- ⅓ cup butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- gel food coloring of choice
- 1 cup Halloween sprinkles
- ¼ cup candy eyes
- Pop the popcorn and remove any unpopped kernels.
- Place the popcorn in a large bowl and set it aside.
- In a large pan, add the butter and melt over medium-low heat.
- Add in the marshmallows and continue to cook stirring constantly. The mixture will burn quickly if not.
- Remove from heat when the marshmallows are melted. Add in the food coloring and vanilla and mix well.
- Pour this over the popcorn. Gently mix until the marshmallow mixture coats all the popcorn.
- Form the popcorn balls, squeezing tightly to hold their shape.
- While the balls are still hot, press the sprinkles and candy eyes all over each ball. If you are using candy corn or other candy, press them into the balls as well.
- You may need to press the balls together again as they start to cool.
- When they have cooled all the way you can package them. Wrap individually or store in an airtight container.