Popcorn carries a special place in the hearts of many people, ranging from uses like strings on a Christmas tree, to a health food and a movie theater staple. The versatility popcorn has can make it a great food for many events, and birthday parties are no exception! Let’s go over some of the best (and most fun) ways you can incorporate popcorn into a birthday party for any age range.

Here are 9 ideas for using popcorn at birthday parties:

  1. Bring Your Own Favorite Popcorn To Share
  2. Caramel Corn Making Party
  3. Bring A Topping
  4. Popcorn Bar
  5. Theater Movie Night
  6. Guess The Seasoning
  7. Popcorn Craft Party
  8. Popcorn Gift Bags
  9. Best Popcorn Dessert Contest

Now that you know the 9 ideas for using popcorn for birthday parties, read on to get more details. Make sure you add your own spice to the ideas and make them your fun!

1. Bring Your Own Favorite Popcorn To Share

Simple? Yes. Cost effective and still fun for everyone in attendance? Absolutely! Whether you’re an adult planning a party for a popcorn loving friend, or planning a party for a child who is just really positive that the best way to celebrate is with multiple bags of popcorn, you really can’t go wrong with this idea.

When the only thing you have to provide is the microwave to make the popcorn in (and your own favorite flavor and brand of popcorn of course), party planning is kept to a minimum, which means your expenses are too. This is a great way to try a number of different brands and flavors of popcorn, while also making sure that there will be something to eat for everyone there!

We all know that one of the most stressful parts of party planning is the nagging worry that there won’t be enough to eat, and with this party idea, that worry is a thing of the past!

With a few colorful bowls, homemade labels, and hungry party attendees, someone there is sure to find a new favorite popcorn flavor, while you (as host) inherit the leftovers to do with as you please! As far as party planning goes, everything about this situation is a win-win.

2. Caramel Corn Making Party

If popcorn is a staple, then caramel corn is the icing on top of the cake. In fact, forget the cake altogether. Caramel corn is the only treat needed at this party!

Making enough caramel for a large group is not as daunting as it may seem. Simple caramel recipes only use four ingredients: sugar, butter, cream, and sea salt. Before you start making the caramel, start popping the popcorn. To make large amounts, it is easiest to use an air popper. Even better, let each of the guests pop their popcorn while your prepare the caramel.

Follow this recipe from Broma Bakery to learn how to make caramel in bulk! Do not let the caramel cool completely before using.

Once you have all the popcorn and caramel prepared, let the guests pour caramel over their batch of popcorn. Provide a small measuring cup or serving spoon to ensure guests do not use more than their fair share.

Every guest will love the interactive treat making and the kids will enjoy the sugar rush, which is the real goal of a birthday party right?

3. Bring A Topping

This idea is much closer to the game category, something that might fit the popcorn theme you already have going. The idea here involves telling everyone ahead of time to bring one of their favorite toppings, without telling them why.

These toppings can be for anything, since they won’t know that popcorn is involved. Taco toppings, ice cream toppings, anything you can think of. You could even assign people specific themes without telling them what it was for.

Once everyone arrives at the party, all the different toppings will be put onto the table, and everyone will be split into groups. The size of these groups will depend on the number of people you’ve invited. As the host, you will be in charge of preparing the popcorn ahead of time.

Once everyone is split up into groups, you’ll announce the goal. Tell everyone that they have a limited amount of time to try and make the best tasting popcorn (judged by you), using as many of the toppings as they can. Points can be given for the number of toppings used, while points can be taken away for poor taste.

This activity might be a better party idea for adults, since kids might go a little crazy, ruining all the popcorn and wasting the seasonings and toppings.

Pro Tip: Make sure to have some melted butter on hand. Whether you’re going to a sweet or savory taste, if you’re dealing with any kind of light seasoning you’re going to need the butter to help the seasoning stick to the popcorn. Otherwise it will all fall off, and collect in the bottom of the bowl.

4. Popcorn Bar

It’s not a game, but it’s a must have for any popcorn themed party. You’ve all heard of potato bars, nacho bars, or maybe you’ve been to one of the soda bars that are popping up everywhere. The popcorn bar will follow the same principle!

This may prove to be one of the more costly ideas, unless you want to run it with a potluck theme in mind, where you have everyone bring their favorite topping, with enough to share. The idea is simple! All you’ll really need is a long table to put all the different toppings on, with bowls and popcorn at the beginning of the line.

People can walk down the table, seasoning their popcorn just how they like it, maybe even finding a few new favorite flavors that they love! The downside to this idea? Nobody likes cold popcorn. You’ll either have to keep microwaving popcorn for everyone, or you’ll need to rent one of those movie theater style popcorn machines that will just keep a nice flow of fresh popcorn going.

5. Theater Movie Night

Movie nights are a classic way to celebrate a birthday party. You can take the classic movie night up a notch by making it theater themed!

Before guests take their seats in front of the TV screen–err, I mean, silver screen, have them go through the theater snack bar. Include buttery popcorn (and fun serving bags) and everyone’s favorite movie theater candies.

After guests have grabbed their snacks, kill the lights and let the film roll. Trust me, your guests will be thankful for the snack accommodations. If you really want to go all the way, you could rent a popcorn making machine! Not only do they keep the popcorn coming, but the keep the popcorn you’ve already made nice and warm. One of the only ways to ruin popcorn is to eat it cold!

6. Guess The Seasoning

You know the halloween game where you take a bowl full of peel grapes, or cooked noodles, put it into a box, and have your blindfolded friends try and guess what they’re touching? This game has the same idea, but instead of their sense of touch, your victims will use their sense of taste!

This game is great on a budget, because you’re not providing a snack for everyone in attendance, the popcorn is merely a medium in a game, so you won’t need much. Just a few small bowls with a handful of popcorn in each one, flavored with a variety of seasonings. You’ll want to have a mixture of normal popcorn seasonings and weird ones to balance everything out.

Remember, since this isn’t a snack, you don’t have to worry about it tasting good, you want to provide a little bit of a challenge. Use your imagination and experiment! A few ideas for seasonings and toppings could be:

  • Hot sauce
  • Salsa
  • Chocolate sauce
  • Carmel
  • Classic butter
  • Frosting (any flavor)
  • Drink mix powder
  • Pudding
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Ice cream (it’ll make the popcorn soggy)
  • Yogurt, and many more!

This could totally be twisted into a fear factor type of game, so go crazy with it!

7. Popcorn Craft Party

Popcorn is one of the most versatile foods. Not only is it delicious, but it can be used in a variety of craft projects. Some fun projects include making a popcorn wreath, painting popcorn garland, and creating hopping corn.

How to Make a Popcorn Wreath

Wreaths made from leaves or garland are great for Christmas, but there are plenty of other holidays that could benefit from this decoration.

To start you will need a round base. You can get a foam wreath from your local craft store for just a few dollars. Now smother the wreath in glue (or just a section at a time) and add the popcorn kernels. Fully cooked popcorn could make for a fuller look too.

After the wreath is coated with popcorn kernels, pick your favorite paint colors, and decorate! This is the perfect DIY for any holiday and birthday party.

Source: At the Picket Fence

Painting Popcorn Garland

Like wreaths, popcorn garland is generally reserved for Christmas decorations, but it doesn’t have to be! Your party guests can enjoy making and painting their own popcorn garland to decorate their house with.

Follow the video below to learn how to make your own popcorn garland.

After all the garland has been strung, break out the paint brushes and let the guests design their own pieces. Be sure to send all the garland home with their creators. What are you going to do with 20 strings of popcorn garland?!

Hopping Corn Science Project

All you need to for this fun project is a glass jar, popcorn kernels, water, baking soda, and vinegar.

Fill the jar with about three cups of water and sit in two tablespoons of baking soda. Toss a few popcorn kernels into the mixture and then mix in six tablespoons of vinegar.

Once the vinegar is added, the popcorn will begin to “hop” around the jar. This results from a chemical reaction between the baking soda and vinegar.

This simple craft project requires little planning and even less clean up! Children will be amazed by the bouncing popcorn and the parents will be pleased too.

Source: One Time Through

Make some extra popcorn for party guests to snack on while they make their craft projects!

8. Popcorn Gift Bags

Gift bags are especially fun at children’s parties, where every new thing they’re given is a whole new adventure. These can usually be done fairly cheaply, and are sure to make lots of kids smile. Popcorn give bags are so much fun, and there are so many ways to do them! Let’s go over two.

  1. Movie Theater Style!
    This is a classic that just can’t go wrong. Step one? You’re going to need bags. You can go fancy, or you can use brown paper bags that the kids can decorate themselves as a party activity. In each bag, you’ll put a bag of (unpopped) microwave popcorn, and a few different kinds of candy. If you’re feeling confident in your candy selection, you can have each kid take their personally decorated bag, and select two or three different kinds of candy to put into their movie bag.
    Throw in a dollar store toy, and you’re good to go! Each child just got a bag full of goodies that are sure to keep them happy and occupied during their next special movie night (preferably at their own homes, so you don’t have to deal with their sugar rush).
  2. Homemade Treat Bag!
    Whether it was in a Hallmark movie or a gift you received yourself, there’s a good chance you’ve either seen or been given the little goodie bags filled with caramel corn, flavored popcorn balls, or any other variety of popcorn. These are a great alternative if you want to have something prepared beforehand that won’t take up much time, and is fairly cheap to pull off. Plastic bags of some kind are usually best for this, to make it easier for the recipient to get the popcorn out if the treat is sticky. You can either buy fun, themed bags, or just run to your local Walmart and grab a box of Ziplocks.

9. Best Popcorn Desert Contest

Last but not least, do it “Potluck Style” and have everyone bring their favorite dessert! The only catch? Popcorn has to be an ingredient. This will be best for adults, since kids would be just as satisfied with regular buttered popcorn.

While there isn’t a specific goal or game based around this idea, it will get your popcorn themed party filled with popcorn themed snacks, and at very little expense or effort on your part!

Note: For those parties occurring during Passover, here are some tips on eating popcorn during Passover

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