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If so, is there any preventative measures I can take to prevent candy from expiring?

I'm curious because Halloween candy after two years tends to look a little...off, and I'm not sure if it's safe to give it back out this Halloween. Since there's no noticeable expiration date on candy packages, is it safe to assume that they don't expire?

Same goes for homemade candy, does it expire too?

I want to know for the majority of chocolate-based candies, rock-sugar candy (jolly ranchers, etc) whether or not they expire

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    I don't know the answer to your question, but giving out 2 year old candy for Halloween sounds like a sure-fire way to get your car egged. – Jolenealaska May 16 '14 at 5:20
  • There are many different types of candy. Can you narrow this down? – SAJ14SAJ May 16 '14 at 5:39
  • @SAJ14SAJ Done, edited in the original post – yuritsuki May 16 '14 at 5:41
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Hard candy (I think called boiled candy in England), such as lollipops or star mints is essentially pure sugar, with some color and flavor added. This type of candy will last essentially forever, if kept absolutely dry. There may be some degradation to the color or flavorings after six months or so, but the candy itself will last indefinitely. If moisture can get to it--even summer humidity--it can soften, become sticky, clump together, and otherwise become unappetizing.

Chocolate has a fairly long shelf life, especially dark chocolate. Under proper conditions, it can last for several years. The mix ins or other components of a confection may limit its shelf life:

  • Nuts may go rancid after a year or two
  • Nougat may dry out and get rock hard, or if it is humid, spoil
  • Caramel may get very hard

One manufacturer suggests a shelf life of 6 months for its candy bars, which is probably a reasonable estimate for good quality.

See also:

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    Good plain chocolate does last pretty well, but at the same time, especially with cheaper chocolate (think candy bars) I think you can get discoloration/bloom after a few months, especially if it's stored somewhere a little warm. The 6 months number sounds pretty reasonable. – Cascabel May 16 '14 at 6:11
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    'if kept dry' is a rather huge caveat -- we're talking about vaccuum sealed, not just 'don't dip it in water'. My mom kept a candy jar full of peppermints ('starbrite' style), individually wrapped. One day in high school, a friend went and got one out ... and asked if they were supposed to be chewy. They had been there for at least a year (if not multiple years). Although there was a lid, it was exposed to sunlight, so they likely went through some heating/cooling cycles, too. The candy still 'lasted' in that it existed ... but it was unpalatable. – Joe May 16 '14 at 16:39
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Hard candy if kept dry and within a reasonable amount of years should stay good. I'm not saying that you should re-give old candy as in butterfingers or hershy chocolate. It might get crumby and taste foul so before you give it to kids and their parents say you poisoned it and you get arrested for drugging the candy i'd buy new non gone bad candy.

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This may not answer the question in the title, but for :

is there any preventative measures I can take to prevent candy from expiring?'.

Yes. Make sure it doesn't hang around.

There are groups that will take leftover candy / candy the kids don't like, and will give it to others. Some will give it to kids in hospitals that didn't get a chance to trick-or-treat, others in the US will ship it to military personnel serving overseas.

And if there isn't one in your local area, you can always start one.

  • I've also known people to put it into candy jars at work, but I also know of a case where someone asked if the chocolate could be kept in something other than a clear container which somehow led to abusive e-mails, threats of violence, and someone being let go. – Joe Mar 9 '18 at 3:51

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