When I was growing up, my parents were strict about candy consumption. So when I came home with a pillowcase full of candy on Halloween, I hoarded the candy, eking it out little by little for months afterward. I never stopped to wonder…wait, how long is Halloween candy good for?
Does candy expire?
Yep, candy does expire, but the good news is that most types of candy keep well. Also, in general, the quality will decline before the candy truly expires or becomes unsafe. Most candies have low moisture content paired with high levels of sugar, which is a preservative. If you need help using the candy in time, check out these clever ways to use leftover Halloween candy.
How long does Halloween candy last?
Here’s a guide by type. (Note that this is for unopened candy. Once candy is open, try to eat it within a few months, regardless of type.) Speaking of type, can you guess what the most popular Halloween candy in your state is?
Six to nine months
Peanut butter cups, caramels, gum and candy corn. Sensing a theme? Super soft, chewy candies, especially sticky ones, can go bad faster than others.
Eight to ten months
Soft chocolates, like white and milk chocolate.
Up to one year
Jelly beans and other jelly candies, and hard candies (this is how Smarties are made.)
Up to two years
Dark chocolate. This bitter treat keeps very well.
Pro tip: You may see a white “dust” on the chocolate bar. That’s not mold, but “bloom,” which is caused by moisture evaporating from the chocolate. It’s still safe to eat! If the chocolate tastes very dry or the texture has changed dramatically, or if it just doesn’t taste good, those are signs to toss the bar. This is why we pass out candy on Halloween.
How to store candy
Whenever possible, store candy in its original, sealed wrapper. Once it’s opened, move the candy to a sealed jar or container, or fasten the original packaging with a clip. Keep the candy in a cool, dark place, like a pantry or even the basement. Didn’t know about this? Read on to learn some more surprising facts about Halloween candy.