Can I Eat It (next year)?
November 2, 2010 1:50 PM   Subscribe

Can I Eat It Halloween Edition: We bought two giant bags of Willy Wonka assorted candy for Halloween (mostly so I could steal all the BottleCaps). We only went through one, the other is unopened. Can I save it until next year? There's no expiration date that I can find, and the stuff is nothing but sugar and artificial colors and flavors.
posted by JoanArkham to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
We've saved extra Halloween candy from year to year and have not been aware of anyone coming sick from it (including myself, as I'll sneak a piece from time to time.)
posted by Lucinda at 1:55 PM on November 2, 2010

Humidity is going to wreck havoc on it over the year. So will up and downs in temperatures.

I don't think you're going to make anyone sick, but you probably have many unhappy trick-or-treaters next year.

That's if bugs don't get to the bag first.
posted by royalsong at 1:56 PM on November 2, 2010

Response by poster: I'll probably keep it in a sealed plastic box with the other Halloween stuff, in a temp-controlled closet. I am wondering if the stuff you buy at Target or wherever has been sitting in a warehouse somewhere since last year anyway.
posted by JoanArkham at 2:00 PM on November 2, 2010

Kids are not picky & half the stuff they eat gets eaten without ever being eyeballed. +2ing the "it'll be fine." If old candy could kill you I'd be dead a thousand times over. Just remember that chocolate doesn't like warmth & that candy-coated things like Skittles don't like the condensation that happens when they're taken out of the freezer. (So to put it another way: You can keep your chocolate in the freezer, you can keep your candy-coated items in a tin.)
posted by Ys at 2:09 PM on November 2, 2010

Chuck 'em in the freezer?

Either way, I think they'll be absolutely fine and delicious.
posted by Sassyfras at 2:10 PM on November 2, 2010

My son likes to hoard his halloween candy for an entire year (he would keep it longer but I insist we throw it out at the beginning of October). My observations are based on candy that has been left in its wrapper and stored inside an open-topped plastic pumpkin.

• LaffyTaffy can go two ways: either it gets very gummy/sticks to the wrapper or it goes rock hard and brittle. I haven't noticed a correlation between specific flavors and the resulting textural outcome. In either case, it clearly looks old after a few months.

• SweetTarts develop a unsightly mottling (the pigment sort of clumps together in freckles) but is otherwise edible *unless* the SweetTarts are kept in a damp area in which case they develop fantastically horrible crystalline growths (also still edible but very unsightly).

• Nerds would be good to stash for a post-apocalyptic future because they remain completely unchanged for an entire year.

You might get better results by storing the candy in airtight containers but you have to calculate the opportunity cost of storing ~$15 worth of bulky candy for 364 days+potential for spoilage vs just dumping this year's remains at the office and buying a smaller sack next year.
posted by jamaro at 2:10 PM on November 2, 2010 [11 favorites]

I always assumed that's why old people give out weird stuff you never actually see on store shelves - because they last shopped for Halloween candy circa 1973 and have just been carefully doling out one piece to each child ever since.

Snark aside, I think it would be fine, though if it's chocolate or gum I would feel bad for the poor kids who have the bad luck to come to your house next year. Those types of candy can definitely harden or get stale over a long time. I'm not familiar enough with Willy Wonka candy types to say whether those particular candies will still taste good in a year. If it's still largely the Nerds and Laffy Taffy and other sugary fake fruit flavored stuff I remember from childhood, it'll probably be fine.
posted by Sara C. at 2:11 PM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

For what it's worth, the candy in my situation were US Smarties.

(And you can use them to get high? Wow, y'learn something new every day.)
posted by Lucinda at 2:12 PM on November 2, 2010

On preview, I stand corrected about the Laffy Taffy. I'd figure that stuff has decades of shelf life...
posted by Sara C. at 2:12 PM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yeah, freezer.
posted by scratch at 2:40 PM on November 2, 2010

Honestly, I think at least some of what anyone buys has been in storage since the previous halloween anyway.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 2:59 PM on November 2, 2010

Best answer: You can always keep it a year with a note on it to try one of each kind before giving it out next October. Y'know, the empirical method.
posted by maryr at 3:07 PM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Don't put it in the freezer. There will be some condensation inside the bag, and you'll end up with damp candy when you thaw it out. (Ask me how I know this.)
posted by anastasiav at 3:16 PM on November 2, 2010

I know from personal experience that the kind of candy you're talking about tastes exactly the same a year later. Sitting out on the kitchen counter with all kinds of temperature fluctuations. I just tossed out all my kids candy that they had leftover from last year to make room for this year's haul. I couldn't resist trying some and the Wonka stuff was all that was left. That and Smarties, but I don't like those (probably why they were still there!)

Nthing that it will be fine next year, but don't put it in the freezer (that will make it gross.)
posted by TooFewShoes at 4:47 PM on November 2, 2010

Yes, save it. Not a problem, go ahead.
posted by wandering_not_lost at 9:09 PM on November 2, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, all! I'm going to give saving it a try, but I'll do some "quality control" before handing them out. At this point my scientific curiosity is worth the $6.99 it will cost me if I'm wrong.
posted by JoanArkham at 6:11 AM on November 3, 2010

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