Kids will love this yummy Halloween popcorn ball recipe. They are shaped like Jack-o-lanterns! Keep reading to learn how to make them.
I was looking for a simple Halloween recipe to make for my daughters as an afternoon snack and came across a recipe for popcorn balls using marshmallows. My traditional recipe uses boiled sugar and corn syrup. There was no way I was going to let the girls help with that until they were a little older! However they have both helped me make Rice Krispie treats before, so this marshmallow popcorn ball recipe seemed perfect.
This recipe uses a packet of orange flavored gelatin for the coloring which gives it a little bit of flavoring but it’s not over-powering. I used some rolled out candy and pretzel rods to decorate the popcorn balls. The girls had so much fun helping and the popcorn balls turned out so cute!
Halloween Popcorn Ball Recipe Ingredients
To make this Halloween recipe for kids, you will need the following supplies:
- 1/2 cup popcorn kernels (preferably organic)
- a 10 oz bag of mini marshmallows (or 8 cups)
- 1/4 cup butter
- a 3 oz box of orange gelatin (not sugar-free, artificial sweeteners are not a good idea for kids or anyone really!)
- coconut oil or butter for greasing hands
In addition, you will need candy to decorate the popcorn balls and make them look like Jack-o-Lanterns. You can use whatever candy you like, but here is what I suggest…
- Spearmint Leaves (or green gumdrops)
- Tootsie Rolls
- Pretzel Rods
- Black Twizzlers Twists (I planned on using these for the mouths but ended up just cutting the mouths from Tootsie Rolls instead.)
Kitchen tools that you might also want to make this Halloween popcorn balls recipe…
These tools are optional, but they would definitely be helpful for making this Halloween popcorn ball recipe. You will be rolling out the green gumdrops and Tootsie Rolls, which is a sticky job. The silicone baking mat is a great surface to roll the candy out because the candy won’t stick to it.
The Tootsie Rolls require a little muscle to roll out so a heavy duty marble rolling pin is definitely a help. The weight of the marble rolling pin helps flatten the candy better so you don’t have to work as hard.
You can use any leaf shaped cutter to cut out the leaves, but I found the fondant leaf cutter to work really well for this Halloween pumpkin popcorn ball recipe. You don’t have to worry about the candy sticking because you just push down on the plunger to eject it. Then you can just peel the leaves off.
Halloween Popcorn Balls Recipe Instructions
The first thing you should do for this Halloween Jello popcorn ball recipe is to get your pumpkin decorations ready. Plan on this recipe making about 12 popcorn balls.
Start by rolling out the green gumdrops to about 1/4 inch thick. Then cut the gumdrops into leaf shapes with a small cookie cutter or a leaf fondant cutter. (See my earlier note about why I recommend a fondant leaf cutter.) You will need about 12 leaves.
The next step in creating the decorations for this marshmallow popcorn ball recipe is rolling out the Tootsie Rolls to about 1/4 inch thick. (See my earlier note about why I recommend a marble rolling pin for this task.)
Use a pair of kitchen shears to cut out triangles for the Jack-o-lantern eyes and noses. You will need 36 triangles – 2 eyes and 1 nose for each popcorn ball.
It is pretty easy to freehand cut the mouths from rolled out Tootsie Rolls too, but you could also make the mouths from strands of black Twizzlers. Since I had plenty of Tootsie Rolls, I just went with that instead of opening the Twizzlers. You will need 12 mouths.
The last decoration you will need for this Halloween pumpkin popcorn ball recipe is a 2 inch piece broken from the end of a pretzel rod. The broken end will go down in the popcorn ball so you don’t have to worry about getting a straight edge. Just snap off a piece. You will need 12 pretzel rod stems.
So you will need the following decorations to make this Halloween popcorn balls recipe
- 24 eyes (cut from rolled out Tootsie Rolls)
- 12 noses (cut from rolled out Tootsie Rolls)
- 12 mouths (cut from rolled out Tootsie Rolls or shaped from a strand of black Twizzlers)
- 12 – 2 inch pieces from the end of a pretzel rod
- 12 leaves (cut from a rolled out green gumdrop)
Set aside your decorations while you proceed with the rest of the instructions for this marshmallow popcorn ball recipe.
Pop the popcorn using your favorite method. (We like to use a hot air popper as it is quick and easy. Plus it doesn’t require any added oil to pop!)
Pour the popcorn into a large pan and remove any un-popped kernels. Nothing is worse than biting into a popcorn ball and about breaking a tooth on an un-popped kernel! Set aside the popcorn while you prepare the marshmallow-Jello mixture.
Melt the marshmallows and butter in the microwave at 30 second intervals until melted and smooth. If you don’t have a microwave, you can also do this on the stove top. Just be sure to stir constantly so the mixture it doesn’t burn.
Stir in the orange gelatin powder until color is well-distributed. Microwave for about 30 seconds longer to ensure the gelatin is dissolved.
Pour the marshmallow mixture over the popcorn, stirring well until all popcorn is coated. Allow to cool slightly so the kids can handle it safely. Meanwhile coat their hands with coconut oil or butter. Seriously, this marshmallow popcorn ball recipe is very sticky so you need something to help the mixture not stick to their hands.
I set a bowl of coconut oil out while we were making these popcorn balls and so my daughters could re-coat their hands whenever they needed.
Forming the pumpkins from this Marshmallow Popcorn Ball Recipe
Form into balls, making sure to press hard so the mixture stays together. It is beneficial to re-coat your hands with oil in between balls.
A less messy way of doing this is to coat a square of waxed paper with cooking spray and use that to press the ball together. When I make this Jello popcorn ball recipe without my little helpers, I use the waxed paper. However I think my daughters enjoy getting all sticky and gooey 🙂
Finishing up Jello Popcorn Ball Recipe by decorating the Jack-o-lanterns
Break off the tips of the pretzel rods. You want about 1-2 inch pieces. Press broken side down into the Halloween popcorn balls for the pumpkin stem.
Now is time to add the faces to your Jack-o-lantern popcorn balls. You should be able to just press the Tootsie roll pieces into place as the popcorn balls are plenty sticky to hold them in place. If for some reason they don’t want to stay, wet your fingertip and brush the back with a little water before pressing the pieces into your popcorn balls.
The recipe makes 10-12 popcorn balls, depending on how big you make them.
Printable Halloween Pumpkin Popcorn Ball Recipe Card
To print this recipe card, right click on it to open the image in a new tab. Then use your browser settings to print it. You might need to go into your printer settings and adjust your paper size to 4″x6″ to get it to print in the correct size.
Pin this Halloween Pumpkin Popcorn Ball recipe for later:
After you make this Halloween popcorn balls recipe, be sure to store the balls in an airtight container and eat within a day or two. So tell me, what is your favorite Halloween recipe to make for the kids?
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