Wash and thoroughly dry the apples (See Notes below). Insert the lollipop sticks or popsicle sticks so that they are firmly positioned in the apples. Set the apples aside on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and coated with cooking spray.
Combine the sugar, corn syrup and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Bring it to a boil and cook the mixture until a candy thermometer reaches 300ºF (the hard crack stage).
Remove the candy mixture from the heat and carefully stir in the red food coloring (it may splash, so stand back). You may have to add more than the designated ½ teaspoon, depending on the quality and strength of your food coloring.
One by one, carefully dip the apples into the candy mixture, swirling to coat them thoroughly and allowing any excess to drip back into the pan. Transfer the coated apples to the prepared cookie sheet and allow them to cool until the candy has fully hardened.
Apples often come with a waxy coating, which will prevent the candy from sticking to the surface. To remove the wax, simply boil 6 cups water with 1 tablespoon white vinegar. Quickly dip the apples in the boiling mixture for 5 seconds then thoroughly dry them. The candy will stick in an instant!
If the candy mixture gets too hard during the dipping process, simply re-heat it over medium heat and continue coating the apples.
Serving the apples in colorful cupcake wrappers is a fun way to jazz up your Halloween party spread.