How Long Does Halloween Candy Last?

How Long Does Halloween Candy Last?
Photo: JLMcAnally, Shutterstock

If you plan to ration your kids’ candy haul this Halloween — or end up buying more candy than you need — you might be wondering how long it will last before its quality starts to deteriorate. As a general rule, most candy will hold up for nine months, although that can vary based on the type of candy and how you’ve kept it stored.

When does candy expire?

According to National Confectioners Association guidelines, the shelf life of candy varies by type:

  • Chocolate can last 8-10 months if wrapped in foil and stored in a cool, dark, and dry place. Dark chocolate can last longer — closer to 2 years. Older chocolate will sometimes have a white, hazy coating known as “chocolate bloom,” but it’s still edible. (Chocolate that is really too old to consume will have a bitter taste or be sporting some mould.)
  • Hard candy — like lollipops and butterscotch candies — lasts one year when packaged. As hard candy gets stale, it will become sticky, and the texture will feel grainy.
  • Caramel will last about 6-9 months if packaged properly (not always a given with some of the cheaper cellophane packaging). After that time, it will get stale and hard as a rock.
  • Candy corn will last about 9 months when unopened before it hardens from staleness.
  • Jellied candies last about a year unopened. If the candy’s packaging is opened but kept in a covered dish, it will start to go stale after about 6-9 months.
  • Gum will last 6-9 months, if packaged properly.

How to store candy

As long as candy is sealed in its original wrapper, you’ll have plenty of time to eat it. The best place to store candy is in a cool, dark place like a cupboard or pantry. Once opened, reseal the package with a clip or — better yet — store it in an airtight jar or container.

Can you freeze leftover candy?

Most candy can be frozen for up to a year, but there are some exceptions: Toffee and truffles can only be frozen for two months, and you should avoid freezing any candy that contains fruits or nuts. Make sure you seal your candy in an airtight container or freezer bag, and label it with the date and type of candy you are freezing, lest it become a guessing game later on.

An alternative option is to simply give the candy away (your hapless coworkers are an easy mark), or pick a date and throw out whatever is leftover after that.

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