Mix oil and popping corn together in a large pot. Cover the pot and cook over moderate to high heat for 5 to 7 minutes, or until corn begins to pop. Using pot holders, lift pot approximately 2 inches from the stove’s surface, rotating or shaking the pot using a circular motion to prevent burning. Continue cooking until all the corn is popped, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to large mixing bowl. Set aside.
In a small saucepan set over moderate to high heat, bring honey and peanut butter to a rolling boil. Stir mixture constantly for 30 seconds. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in salt. Pour peanut butter mixture over cooked popcorn and mix until well combined. Add licorice bits, if using.
With your hands, shape the popcorn mixture into 4-inch balls. (Oiling your hands with a small amount of vegetable oil will help prevent sticking). To cool popcorn balls, set them onto a lightly oiled wire rack. Once they have completely cooled, they are ready to serve.