How long is Halloween candy good for?

A Virginia Tech food safety expert weighs in on the shelf life of Halloween treats

(Photo by Sebbie Strauch on Unsplash) (Unsplash)

BLACKSBURG, Va. – After Halloween night is over, you might be wondering how long you should keep the candy before you toss it out.

Alexis Hamilton, an assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Department of Food Science and Technology shared some safety advice for all of the treats you collected on Halloween night.

“Most of the commercial candy products you’ll see handed out this year are safe to consume and store for several months after trick-or-treating, but homemade candies and treats require a little extra scrutiny. For those who are social distancing this year, making candy at home can be a fun way to participate in this Halloween tradition, but these treats typically won’t last as long as your store-bought favorites,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton recommended following these safety guidelines based on the National Confectioners Association:

  • Chocolate: Dark chocolates can last up to two years if wrapped in foil and stored in a cool, dark, dry place. Milk chocolate and white chocolate should be kept for no longer than eight to ten months.
  • Hard candy: These can last up to a year if they are stored at room temperature or in a cool, dry place.
  • Jellied candies: If the package has not been opened, you can keep jellied candies for up to a year. If the package has been opened and stored away from heat and light at room temperature, jellied candies should last for approximately six to nine months.
  • Candy corn: If the package has not been opened, candy corn will last about nine months. If the package has been opened and stored away from heat and light at room temperature, candy corn should last for approximately three to six months.
  • Gum: Most unopened gum packs can last for about six to nine months.
  • Caramels: If caramel candies are covered and stored away from heat and light at room temperature, they can last for around six to nine months.

Hamilton said that any partially eaten candies or candy in an opened package should be kept in airtight containers.

If you’re still unsure, Hamilton provided these easy ways to tell if your goodies have gone bad:

  • Be observant of odd smells or flavors,
  • Look for “fuzzy” growths on the candy,
  • Check to see if a package is bloated or filled with air,
  • If you’re unsure, throw it out.

To find Halloween events in your area, check out this article.


About the Author:

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.