Every year, when summer ends and the leaves begin to change color, us local Portlanders savor the last few sunny days before winter (and rain) truly arrives to the Pacific NW. When the chilly autumn nights arrive, one of my favorite indoor activities is getting out my collection of fall and winter themed movies. A good movie and a puzzle or crochet project is my favorite way to relax on cold winter nights.

October is the perfect beginning to this weekly tradition of curling up on the couch and enjoying a favorite film. My boyfriend James and I love to plan stay-at-home date nights. When the weather turns cold and rainy, we often don’t feel like dressing up and going out on a Friday night. Instead we change into our PJ’s and curl up on the couch with a bottle of wine or champagne, some tasty snacks, and a good movie. For our latest “homemade date night” – we had homemade caramel corn, champagne and watched my favorite Halloween movie, Beetlejuice.

I like to go all out for any special occasion, and for this night I thought it would be fun to make our own homemade popcorn holders complete with custom labels and coasters. First, I made the popcorn following this simple and delicious recipe:

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Caramel Corn
(made in the microwave)

3-1/2 quarts of popped corn
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Place popcorn in a large brown paper bag. In a two-quart container, stir together the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt. Bring mixture to a full boil for two minutes. Remove from microwave and stir in the baking soda until dissolved. Pour this hot syrup over the popcorn and shake well in the bag. Place in microwave for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes. Remove and shake well. Place again in microwave for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes, shake again. Place in a large bowl and cool. When thoroughly cooled, pack in large cellophane bags or frosted tin-tie bags.

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I chose a spiderweb scrapbook paper to match our movie theme along with the Folio style labels and coasters. The labels and coasters read, “Happy Halloween” along with my favorite quotes from the movie: “It’s Showtime!” and of course, “Betelgeuse betelgeuse betelgeuse!”

Our homemade date night turned out to be a lot of fun and adding our own finishing touches made the night extra special. You could also use this idea to create a unique gift basket for couples (complete with a DVD, popcorn, and champagne, with customized labels and coasters to match).

Rachel (158 Posts)

Rachel Beyer is an artist, designer and creative maker based in Portland, OR. She loves crafting, party planning and illustration. Rachel runs her own creative blog, Adventures In Making and also has a line of greeting cards, art prints and handmade goodies called Camp Smartypants.


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