(Family Features) From watching scary movies to dressing up as ghouls and goblins, the spooky season means it’s time to pop up your loved ones’ favorite snacks for a ghostly good time. Before heading out to trick-or-treat, gather your minions in the kitchen for family-friendly fun crafting these haunting yet tasty treats.

Throughout October, you can honor National Popcorn Poppin’ Month with eerie, delicious eats like Spooky Popcorn Spider Web, Green Halloween Zombies, Witchy Popcorn Balls, and Popcorn Caramel Apples that add festive fun to the Halloween excitement.

As a perfect ingredient in treats of all types, popcorn is beloved for its seed-to-snack simplicity as a non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free snack that’s naturally low in fat and calories. Add in its irresistible smell, taste, and versatility, and it’s easy to see why it pairs so well with spooky celebrations.

Find more Halloween treats at popcorn.org.

Spooky Popcorn Spider Web

Yield: 1 spider web

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 8 cups mini marshmallows, divided
  • One tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 9 cups popped popcorn, divided
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips divided
  • black string licorice
  • candy eyes

Line round pizza pan with parchment paper; set aside. In a large saucepan over low heat, melt butter; stir in 5 cups marshmallows, constantly stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until completely melted. Stir in vanilla. Remove from heat. Stir in 8 cups of popcorn until coated. Spread onto prepared pizza pan in an irregular round shape, about 1-inch thick, to resemble a spider web. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes or until firm.

In the microwave, melt the remaining marshmallows for about 20 seconds or until melted. Using a spatula, string strands of melted marshmallow over popcorn spider web to create a cobweb effect.

In a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of hot (not boiling) water, melt 3/4 cup of chocolate chips; cool slightly. In a large bowl of remaining popcorn, pour chocolate over popcorn, folding gently to coat. Spread the mixture on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet, separating it into eight small clusters. Affix two candy eyes to each popcorn cluster. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes or until set.

Melt the remaining chocolate chips. Cut licorice into 1-inch lengths. Using a small spoon, dab circles of chocolate onto the spider web. Affix chocolate-coated popcorn onto chocolate circles. Affix licorice lengths to chocolate popcorn clusters to resemble spider legs.

Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until set. To serve, cut into smaller pieces.

Witchy Popcorn Balls

Yield: 8 popcorn balls

  • 16 chocolate wafer cookies
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 3 quarts of popped popcorn
  • Four tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
  • 3 cups miniature marshmallows
  • Three tablespoons (1/2 of the 3-ounce box) lime gelatin dessert mix
  • green food color (optional)
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • licorice strings
  • Eight chocolate ice cream cones
  • orange sugar sprinkles, placed in a small dish
  • jelly beans
  • candy corns

Spreadsheet of waxed or parchment paper over the work surface and place wafer cookies on it.

Spray a large mixing bowl with nonstick cooking spray and place popcorn inside.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Stir in marshmallows and gelatin powder until the marshmallows are melted and the mixture is smooth. Adjust color with 1-2 drops of food color, if desired. Pour mixture over popcorn and mix until coated.

Spray hands with nonstick cooking spray and press firmly to form eight balls. Place balls on eight wafer cookies. Press candy decorations into popcorn balls to form “eyes,” “noses,” and “mouths.”

In a small, microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate chips, covered, for 10 seconds. Stir to aid melting. Repeat as needed until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of melted chocolate on top of each popcorn ball. Press licorice strings into chocolate to form “hair.”

Dip cone edges into melted chocolate, then orange sugar sprinkles. Place on remaining wafer cookies to form “witches’ hats.” Place hats on popcorn balls. Allow chocolate to set for about 45 minutes before serving.

Serve or seal individually in plastic wrap.

Green Halloween Zombies

Yield: about seven pieces

  • 2 1/2 quarts popped popcorn
  • Six tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 3 cups mini marshmallows
  • Four tablespoons of lime gelatin powder
  • red gum balls
  • candy corn
  • flat green candy strips or fruit leather
  • green sugar sprinkles

Place popcorn in a large bowl; set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir marshmallows into butter until melted. Stir in gelatin powder until evenly colored.  

Pour melted mixture over popcorn and stir until evenly coated. With buttered hands, shape popcorn into seven ovals.

Flatten one oval slightly and squeeze one end to form a “skull” shape. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining ovals.

To decorate: Press two gumballs into each skull to form “eyes.”  Press candy corn into the skull to form “teeth.” Use scissors to trim candy strips and press into the top for “hair.” Sprinkle with sugar sprinkles.

Allow “zombies” to set for about 20 minutes before wrapping them individually in plastic wrap or serve immediately.

Popcorn Caramel Apples

Yield: 4 apples

  • 1 quart freshly popped popcorn
  • One package (9 1/2 ounces, 35 total) of caramels, unwrapped
  • 1/4 cup light cream or half-and-half
  • Four lollipop sticks or wooden candy apple sticks
  • Four apples
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • sugar sprinkles
  • decorative ribbon (optional)

Place popcorn in a large bowl; set aside. Place a sheet of waxed paper on the work surface.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, heat caramels and cream.  Stir frequently until the caramels are melted and the cream is blended into the caramels.

Push one stick into the apple center and dip it into caramel. Spoon caramel over the apple to coat. Repeat with remaining apples

Place caramel-coated apple in a bowl of popcorn and press popcorn onto caramel to cover. Place apple on wax paper to set; repeat with remaining apples.

In a small, resealable plastic bag, microwave chocolate chips for 10 seconds and press chips to aid melting. Repeat, heating at 10-second intervals, until chips are completely melted. Cut a small corner off the bag and squeeze chocolate onto each apple, allowing chocolate to drip down the sides. Sprinkle with sugar sprinkles.

Tie a bow to each apple stick, if desired. To serve, cut apples into slices.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...

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