MUNDANE MYSTERIES: How Long Can You Safely Keep Halloween Candy?

Whether you’ll be trick-or-treating tonight or buying discounted candy you’re your nearest drugstore tomorrow, Halloween is the season to go nuts when it comes to consuming sweet treats. I know it can be tempting to burn through your Halloween bag in one fell swoop, but if you exercise patience with your haul of Twix & Kit Kats, you’ll be thanking yourself later. But just how long can you safely keep this year’s Halloween candy before it goes bad?

The Halloween candy that will have the longest lifespan is dark chocolate; with its lack of dairy content, dark chocolate should last up to two years from the time it was made, while a regular milk chocolate Hershey’s bar usually goes bad after about 8 to 10 months. Both chocolates, though, can develop pale, chalky “blooms” over time, but that won’t make the chocolate inedible…it just means it’s drying out.

Hard candies & jelly candies (i.e., jelly beans) usually stay good for up to a year, so those can be kept around all the way up to next Halloween. Softer candies like candy corn, caramels, gum, and peanut butter cups are good for roughly 6 to 9 months. After that, you’ll need to toss ‘em out.

Now, the main qualification for all of this is properly storing your candy. Loose candies degrade a whole lot faster than treats in sealed wrappers, so if you open something then plan to finish it fairly soon thereafter. Also, avoid keeping your candy bowl in warm, sunny spots, since heat can (obviously) be bad for sweet treats. Dark, cool spots are where you want to keep your candy, since they help them stay fresher longer (and your family members are less likely to find them hidden there).

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