If you didn't eat all of it last night, you can keep enjoying the Kit Kats and Dum Dums awhile longer.  But how long exactly?

Halloween candy has a shelf-life, and it's not "til next year."  But there is one variety that might outlive us all.

Two types of people emerge right after Halloween.  Those who will get rid of all the candy today by donating it to a good cause, sharing it with co-workers, or just plain throwing it out.  And then there are those who keep it in a bowl in the pantry and pick at it for weeks until it's gone.

The candy will last for a long time, but since infinity isn't an option, we should probably know when it's past the point of safe consumption.  The experts say dark chocolate will last the longest (if crumbling willpower doesn't wipe it out first).

There are several things that make candy spoil, like moisture, light, heat, and fat content, according to food scientists from Kansas State University.  Keeping it in the pantry is the best option for longevity since it's usually dark and dry in there.

What’s the Shelf Life of Halloween Candy?

Dark chocolate will last one to two years!  And milk and white chocolate will last up to 10 months, according to Eater.com.  Higher milk fat contents will shorten the shelf life, and so will light, heat, and moisture.  Fresh, fancy chocolates from a chocolate shop should be eaten within a week because they don't have preservatives.  No problem accomplishing that.


When we want a candy that pretty much has an indefinite shelf life, hard candies are it.  This is as close to infinity as it gets.  Lollipops, Jolly Ranchers, Lifesavers, and those addictive butterscotch discs have the longest shelf life of any of the Halloween candies, and will only get a little stickier and more crystalized over time without really spoiling.  And there is something great about a butterscotch disc that's a little chewy on the outside.  I used to hunt for those in my grandma's crystal candy dish growing up, and they might have been as old as she was.

Marshmallows will last six to eight months. They'll either get stickier over time or harder and drier, depending on how much moisture they're exposed to.  Either way, we can bury them in hot chocolate when they start getting a little iffy, and they will taste good as new.

Other surgery things like caramel, nougat, and candy corn will last six months to a year if they're sealed up and kept in a dry place.  The fruity snacks, gummy bears, and other jelly candies will last about a year if the bags are kept sealed. Once we tear open a bag, we'd better eat them in a day or two.  And that's no problem because there are usually only six pieces in those individually-wrapped bags anyway and there's no point in holding back.

So, this is all good news.  We don't have to scarf down all of the candy today or tomorrow and make ourselves sick trying to be efficient with the Halloween collection.  We might eat a ton of it anyway, but not because we're afraid of spoilage.

Here's the other thing.  Some of that candy we picked up last night might be leftover from Halloween 2017.  Sneaky neighbors!  But as long as it still tastes good and doesn't have any weird spots I guess we're okay.

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