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A Halloween Treat: Mrs. Robinsons' Popcorn Balls

Updated on March 23, 2015
Vintage Popcorn Ball Treats
Vintage Popcorn Ball Treats | Source

The Sppoky Gaunlet to Procure A Prized Halloween Treat

As Halloween approached the neighborhood, we would all begin to ask about the treats that were to be given out at our individual homes. I would be asked by everyone on the school bus if my Grandmother was handing popcorn balls out. Plans would be made by the neighborhood children on how to get to her house early to ensure one would be dropped into their goodie sack. Her house was a bit out of the way from the rest of the neighbors. She lived on one end of the small private street, up on a hill and for a kid trying to get to as many houses as time would allow, a bit away from the other neighbors.

Grandma’s driveway was long and dark. On most nights it was just a driveway like any other but on Halloween; it became a spooky walk to the golden prize. You had to first walk between two pillars made from stones found around the yard, painted white and patched together with cement. Next was the stretch of dirt driveway that passed by the Charles River. The reeds would rustle in the gentle breeze, sending thoughts of goblins hiding just out of sight. Your step would quicken, your eyes darting for the candlelight in front of the porch at the top of the hill. All that was left to get by was an old tree silhouetted in the moonlight that brought notions of the headless horseman coming around the bend. When your foot hit the first step, all thoughts would leave your mind and just the smell & taste of the popcorn ball would come in to fill all of your senses.

Pumpkin grins flickered, greeting you on the top landing as you reached to open the porch screen door. The porch would be lit a yellowish orange due to the wall lantern now contained a bug lite light bulb. Reflections of the pumpkins would be distorted in the antique glass windows that surrounded the porch. As the tallest member of the group reached up for the door knocker, you would hold your breath waiting to yell out, “Trick or Treat!” Grandma would pull the door open wide so you could glance at the card table she had decorated with either spiders, mummies, a black cat or cobwebs. In the center of the table was the bowl of hand wrapped popcorn balls you have been dreaming about all week long.

All ingredients
All ingredients | Source

Ingredients for Mrs. Robinsons' Homemade Popcorn Balls

  • 2/3 Cup Popcorn kernels, makes 3 QTs
  • 2 Tblsp Oil, may take 3 Tblsp.
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup Light corn syrup
  • 1/4 Cup Butter, + some to coat hands
  • 3/4 Tsp salt
  • 3/4 Tsp Vanilla
  • Recipe makes about 12 Popcorn Balls


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Additional Items

  • A 3 quart pan to cook the syrup.
  • A 6 quart pan to cook the popcorn.
  • Candy thermometer or small bowl of cold water
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Wax paper bags
  • Wax paper


4.6 stars from 5 ratings of Popcorn Balls
6 Quart pan with lid
6 Quart pan with lid | Source
Discard unpopped kernels
Discard unpopped kernels | Source
Next set of items needed
Next set of items needed | Source
Bubbling sugar syrup with candy thermometer
Bubbling sugar syrup with candy thermometer | Source
Mixing syrup into popcorn
Mixing syrup into popcorn | Source


  1. Pop the corn in a 6 quart pan. Add the oil to cover the bottom. Place in popcorn kernels so the bottom is covered.Cover the pan with a well fitted lid. Turn on the burner to medium high setting. As the oil begins to heat, you will hear sizzling. Shake the pan using pot holders to hold the handles and lid. Just like making microwave popcorn, you will hear the exploded kernels begin to fill up the pan. When the sound begins to slow down, turn off the burner and remove pan from burner. Slowly take off the lid due to very hot steam. Slowly add popcorn into a large bowl and set aside. Try to keep all kernels in the bottom of the pan.
  2. In the 3 quart pan, add in sugar, light corn syrup, water, butter, and salt. Clip thermometer on the side of the pan, but make sure the tip of the thermometer is not on the bottom of the pan. This will give you a false temperature reading. Set burner on medium heat and begin to stir with a wooden spoon to mix all ingredients. Once mixed together turn heat to medium high. Mixture will begin to boil and rise in the pan.You want to have syrup reach “hard ball” or 275 degrees on the thermometer. This can take up to 10 minutes. If you do not have a candy thermometer, drizzle a bit of the syrup into cold water. if it does not instantly become hard, it is not ready. Pour out water and syrup from dish and reset dish with cold water for the next test.
  3. As soon as mixture reaches hard ball remove pan from heat. Pull candy thermometer off of pan, and stir syrup as you begin to add in vanilla. Once vanilla is well mixed with syrup, begin to slowly pour over popcorn. Toss popcorn around in bowl with wooden spoon. Add more syrup. Repeat until syrup is gone from pan. If someone else is helping you make these, have them stir popcorn and syrup together in the large bowl as you slowly pour. Place empty syrup pan in sink and add hot water to pan so syrup does not harden to the pan. This will make cleanup much easier.
  4. Butter up your hands and reach in to the large bowl to begin forming balls the size of a baseball. The syrup will still be hot so take from the top of the bowl and work your way down. Gently toss the ball back and forth between your hands, but try not to compact the ball too tightly. Think of it as making a fluffy snowball. As you finish each ball, place it on a sheet of wax paper to continue to cool and set. If needed, quickly cool off your hands by placing them under cool, running water. Try not to rinse the butter off. The butter is acting as a non stick agent for your hands.
  5. After letting the popcorn balls cool for 15 minutes, place 1 ball in a wax paper bag and tie off with a piece of ribbon, twist tie, piece of string or whatever you might have on hand that will seal the bag off to air. If you can not find wax paper bags, use a piece of wax paper to wrap ball then insert it in a zip sandwich bag.Save one out to eat while wrapping the rest!
Finished Homemade Popcorn Balls ready for wrapping
Finished Homemade Popcorn Balls ready for wrapping | Source

© 2013 Susan McLeish


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    • StoneCircle profile image

      Susan McLeish 4 years ago from Rindge, NH

      So glad that you enjoyed it Kathryn Stratford. Will be making a batch of popcorn balls to celebrate HOTD this weekend.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      These look delicious, and the story you told before the recipe adds a lot to this recipe! Thanks for sharing this with us.

      Congrats on winning HOTD! It is definitely a good cause to do a happy dance!

    • StoneCircle profile image

      Susan McLeish 4 years ago from Rindge, NH

      Thank you to Temi Benjamin, Sarifearnbd, fornalina,Necssity, BNadyn, moonlake And vertualit. I appreciate all of you stooping by and enjoying this hub with me.

      To say the least, I was quite surprised when I opened up Hub Pages today. Then I happy danced across the kitchen floor with my pugs.

      HendrickDB = Please do! They will taste even better than you remember.

      CarlySullens = Halloween has always been my favorite holiday.

      Thelma Alberts = I would mail you some, but I am pretty sure they would melt in the post truck.

      rose-the planner = I am glad you could experience my grandmothers house. It really was the spooky house on the street at night.

      Thank you all for you comments and sharing this hub! I really do appreciate this.

    • vertualit profile image

      Abdus Salam 4 years ago from Bangladesh

      I love popcorn so much! I will follow your article for making popcorn balls. Thanks so much for sharing and congratulations for great hub.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      My mom use to make these. I did for our kids a couple times. Enjoyed your hub congratulations on HOTD.

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      This looks like a must try recipe. I really enjoyed the story of your grandma's house on Halloween, I could definitely envision it. Thank you for sharing your recipe and story! (Voted up)

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

      Yummy! Congrats on the HOTD award. I enjoyed reading and how I wish I could have some of these popcorn balls right now. Thanks for sharing;-)

    • BNadyn profile image

      Bernadyn 4 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida

      This looks like a great treat for any occasion..especially since it can make so many! Thanks for sharing, I'm going to try this and my kids love popcorn, too. Congrats on HUTD!!

    • CarlySullens profile image

      CarlySullens 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Congratulations on HOTD! This looks so yummy and I love your Halloween story in the beginning. Halloween is such a fun time.

    • Necessity profile image

      Necessity 4 years ago from Canada

      Your introduction was absolutely wonderful.

    • HendrikDB profile image

      HendrikDB 4 years ago

      Thank you very much! You will not be believe it, but when I was little, my father made a similar type of popcorn ball but with time I grew out of it. For the sake of a trip down memory lane, I am going to make your recipe!

    • fornalina profile image

      Katarzyna Silny 4 years ago from Poznan, Poland

      It really looks delicious. I should try making it one day.

    • Temi Benjamin profile image

      Temi Benjamin 4 years ago from Europe.

      They look yum! I'd be sure to try them out....thanks for sharing. Voted up and shared.

    • StoneCircle profile image

      Susan McLeish 4 years ago from Rindge, NH

      Insightful Tiger

      They will love having this treat! Thanks for the thumbs up and even though the mixture is still hot at first, they can help with making the last few as the sugar cools down. Great family recipe.

    • Insightful Tiger profile image

      Insightful Tiger 4 years ago

      This looks delicious and I love the story as well! I'm pinning this to make it for the kids, I'm sure thy will love it! Voted up.

    • profile image

      sbboude 4 years ago

      It was my mother who made these great treats and they were the best !!!

    • StoneCircle profile image

      Susan McLeish 4 years ago from Rindge, NH

      Glad you found this hub to be interesting, rajan jolly

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very interesting and they look very munchable. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    • StoneCircle profile image

      Susan McLeish 4 years ago from Rindge, NH

      Glad you could stop by FaeSis. I can usually eat 3 of these in a day.

    • profile image

      FaeSis 4 years ago

      I'd like to eat one or five right now!