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Does Halloween Candy Go Bad?

It's almost time for trick-or-treaters! It is estimated that 170 million people will celebrate Halloween this year with over three-fourths of households planning to hand out candy. We will purchase over 600 million pounds of candy for Halloween, with candy corn weighing in at 20 million pounds. 

When doling out candy, is there a time-limit before it goes bad?

All candy does have a shelf life. The moisture and sugar content are two factors that cause candy to deteriorate. Here are some guidelines for safe candy consumption:

Chocolate

Far and away the most popular of all Halloween candies, chocolate is preferred by 72% of people. 

  • Dark chocolate can be kept for up to two years if it is wrapped in foil and kept in a cool, dark, dry place.
  • Milk or white chocolate will last only 8 to 10 months.

Candy Corn

In second place candy corn is the favoriate Halloween candy for 12% of people. Unopened packages will last up to 9 months, but opened candy corn only keeps for 3 to 6 months. These candies need to be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Hard candies

Candy such as lollipops, butterscotch drops or peppermints can be kept for up to a year at room temperature or in cool or dry places.

Jellied candies

Unwrapped candies stored at room temperature can last 6 to 9 months. Wrapped candies can last up to a year.

Gum

If sealed, gum can last 6 to 9 months.

Caramel

This fall favorite stored away from heat or light lasts up to 9 months at room temperature.

Nuts in your candy

If your candy contains nuts or nut pieces, the shelf life may be affected.

  • Cashews and peanuts keep up to 9 months at room temperature or 1 year in the refrigerator.
  • Almonds keep up to a year in the refrigerator or at room temperature.

Set limits

Most parents allow children to eat Halloween candy, but three-fourths of parents limit the amount a child can eat. Some dental offices buy back your candy and send it to our military overseas. This may give your child a lesson in self-restraint as well as the rewards of giving to others.

Have a Happy Halloween! 

Amanda Votruba, MD

Methodist Physicians Clinic 192 Dodge Pediatrics

Dr. Votruba answers your questions about child health and parenting. As a pediatrician, Dr. Votruba feels that seeing the kids every day is the best part of her job. With four children, including one set of twins, she enjoys sharing her experience and assisting parents through all phases of their child's life. She feels that by knowing the child's health history she can help parents and patients feel more comfortable and trust that she will take this into account. She has college students ...

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