Once fall rolls around and the temperatures stay low all day, it just feels right to pop popcorn. I've never liked air poppers, so I pop ours in a large saucepan or kettle over an open burner on the range. If I'm looking for an easy dinner, I can always pair it with grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, with some grapes on the side -- YUM!
As easy as popcorn is, I discovered a couple ways to make it even better. Around Halloween, I make the popcorn with melted butter and salt, but I also add candy corn into the mix. It's just enough sweet to make the popcorn seem like a dessert and just enough salty to take the sickening sweet out of the candy corn. Another snack I add the popcorn is dried cranberries. This is certainly more nutritious than the candy corn and it still adds a little sweet without overpowering the natural taste of the popcorn. I've even added candy corn and cranberries in the same bowl which works just fine.
Another trick for popcorn that I learned, (and it's an invaluable trick for me!), is to have a very large plastic bowl with a sealable top. Once the popcorn is popped, I transfer it to the bowl, add whatever else is going into the mix and then shake away. When I add all these extras, even if it's just butter and salt, it makes mixing up the popcorn a cinch. It works when the popcorn is still too hot to touch, too. And plus, if we don't eat the popcorn all in one sitting, the sealed top allows us to keep it fresh up to a day after it was popped.
Every year, my oldest daughter wants to have a Halloween party on Halloween itself. The teens can sit there watching scary movies and noshing on candy and soda if I provide it. But I've found that if I give them something a little more nutritious (and tasty), they'll be just as happy. And they won't be as hopped up as they would have been otherwise. So fall-inspired popcorn is my remedy. The only drawback is that we always seem to have that clichéd moment when something scary happens in the movies and the popcorn bowl ends up being thrown upwards, sending the popcorn flying all over the den :-)