How Long Can You Keep Halloween Candy Before It Goes Bad?

If there is one thing that becomes clear every October, it's that Americans really like Halloween. According to Insider, about 172 million Americans celebrate the spooky holiday each year, and, as everyone knows, you can't celebrate Halloween without candy. Around 163 million Americans — or about 95% of people who celebrate the holiday — will purchase candy for the occasion, spending an estimated total of nearly $2.6 billion on the sweet stuff each year. Annually, Americans purchase a whopping 600 million pounds of Halloween candy, including ninety million pounds of chocolate candy and 158 trillion individual candy corn kernels, per HuffPost.

So it comes as no surprise that most people are almost sure to have plenty of Halloween candy leftover come November 1 — and that's not even counting the temptation to purchase the heavily discounted bags of candy that go on sale immediately after the holiday. But while it's not necessarily a bad thing to have a sizable stash of sweets on hand, exactly how long should you keep those Skittles and Snickers bars in your cabinets before tossing them? Well, it turns out, it might be a little longer than you think.

Some candies will stay good until next Halloween

Most candies, unlike perishable treats, have a fairly long shelf life. According to Taste of Home, a typical Halloween candy haul can last at least up to six months, with the first items to go being anything chewy, sticky, or soft, like candy corn or anything with caramel. Other popular Halloween goodies, like soft white or milk chocolate bars, have a shelf life of around eight to ten months, while hard and jelly candies like jelly beans, lollipops, or Jolly Ranchers, can last for up to a whole year.

But some candy can last even longer, as long as it is stored properly. Dark chocolate has a particularly lengthy shelf life and can stay perfectly good for up to two years, so long as it is kept out of the sun. Although dark chocolate may develop a white dust "bloom" over time, that doesn't necessarily mean it has gone bad. It is still typically safe to eat, although of course, if anything tastes funny or a little bit off, it is always a good idea to toss it. 

To extend the shelf life of your Halloween candy, Mental Floss suggests making sure that it is properly sealed and stored in a cool, dry, dark space — one easy option is to stash your stash in tightly sealed containers inside your cabinet or pantry. That way, you can keep treating yourself to your favorite Hershey bars all the way until next Halloween night.