- Halloween at the White House has been a fun tradition honoured by presidential administrations over the past 60 years.
- It started when First Lady Mamie Eisenhower first decided to decorate the White House for the holiday in 1958.
- Since then, presidents and first ladies have welcomed costumed children to the White House to trick-or-treat on Halloween amid festive decorations and entertainment.
- These photos show how Halloween is celebrated at the White House, and how it could differ this year during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Ever since First Lady Mamie Eisenhower decked out the White House with faux skeletons, jack-o-lanterns, and bundles of dried corn in 1958, celebrating Halloween has been a beloved tradition of presidential administrations.
Local children and military families are often invited to trick-or-treat as performers provide entertainment amid the festively decorated grounds. Even White House staffers get into the spirit by donning costumes.
On their fourth Halloween in the White House this year, the Trumps are handling things a little differently because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. First Lady Melania Trump said in a statement ahead of the event that social distancing and masks will be required, and a number of other precautions will be put in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
As the Trumps prepare for this year’s celebration, here’s a look at how various administrations have marked the holiday over the past 60 years.
Caroline Kennedy and John F. Kennedy Jr. showed off their Halloween costumes to their father President John F. Kennedy in the Oval Office on October 31, 1963.
On October 19, 1977, Amy, the daughter of President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter and her friends carved pumpkins during Amy’s 10th birthday party at the White House.
First Lady Barbara Bush greeted trick-or-treaters outside the South Portico of the White House on Halloween in 1989.
President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush joked around with TV personality Willard Scott during a Halloween party on the White House lawn in 1989.
President George W. Bush posed with local children who were trick-or-treating at the White House on Halloween in 2002.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama handed out candy to kids at the White House on October 31, 2009. The first family welcomed more than 2,600 children and parents from Washington, Maryland, and Virginia to the White House for a Halloween party.
Trick-or-treaters received packets of Presidential M&Ms, orange White House Halloween cookies, and dried fruit in 2009.
As children waited in line to trick-or-treat at the White House in 2009, performers like this skeleton band kept them entertained.
Adults dressed as Dracula and Frankenstein doled out treats to costumed children in 2010.
Even though it was snowing, children from the Washington area and from military families delighted in trick-or-treating at the White House on Halloween 2011.
On Halloween 2013, the Obamas greeted visitors to commence the annual Halloween celebration at the White House.
Halloween decorations designed to look like the “first dogs” added to the festivities. “Sunny” and “Bo,” dressed as a sunflower and a pirate, posed at the White House.
The White House was decked out in orange pumpkins on October 31, 2014.
Trapeze artists danced alongside children as the Obamas welcomed everyone to the White House for Halloween in 2015.
A bumble bee and some emojis took photos of Obama in 2016.
Obama and the first lady gave out Halloween treats to children on October 31, 2016.
Costumed children of journalists and White House staffers were invited to the Oval Office in 2017 to meet President Donald Trump.
Specially carved jack-o-lanterns of important American figures decorated the White House on Halloween 2017.
As part of the 2017 festivities, children of members of the White House press corps were invited to trick or treat.
Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, wearing a bright orange blazer for the holiday, enjoyed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ Ms. Frizzle costume in 2017.
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump gave out sweets to trick-or-treating kids on the South Lawn in 2017.
Standing next to the president, the first lady greeted a miniature firefighter with a treat from her basket on Halloween 2017.
That same day, the White House looked fun and foreboding, thanks to elaborate decorations.
In 2018, Trump handed out candy bars featuring the presidential seal and his signature.
The White House invited military families and local children to attend.
In 2018, children and parents were allowed entry through tickets from the Department of Education and the White House Military Office, USA Today reported.
In 2018, the White House was decorated with dozens of pumpkins, hay stacks, and colourful trees. The building’s pillars were made to look like giant corn stalks.
Kids engaged in a bunch of spooky Halloween-themed activities on the White House South Lawn.
The event also featured a moon carpet from NASA, a tractor from the Department of Agriculture, and emergency vehicles from the Department of Health and Human Services, USA Today reported.
Rain was in the forecast for the White House Halloween celebrations in 2018, but thankfully, it held off until after the event was over.
In 2019, the White House was decked out with pumpkins and spooky branches that lined the South Portico’s pillars.
The Trumps stood under a “Halloween” sign on an orange carpet as they offered treats to kids.
As the Trumps handed out candy, spooky music played in the background, including “The Addams Family” theme song.
The Air Force Strolling Strings played “Thriller” by Michael Jackson, the theme song from “The Addams Family” and other Halloween-themed tunes, according to the Associated Press.
Melania Trump was seen marveling at kids’ costumes as she handed out candy in 2019.
In 2019, the Trumps again handed out a memorable Halloween token: candy bars featuring a presidential seal.
For 2020, the White House is putting safety measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at their annual Halloween celebration.
Because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the White House is handling Halloween a little differently in 2020.
The event, taking place on October 25, will include social distancing and a number of precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Melania Trump said in a statement ahead of the event that all guests over the age of 2 years old would be required to wear masks, and staff, who will also be wearing masks, will have to wear gloves while handing out candy.
The White House will also offer hand sanitizer throughout the event space, the first lady said.
Several federal departments are taking part in the event, per usual, but this year’s attendees will have to follow a “no touch” policy when offering activities and handing out products.
This year, Melania Trump is also inviting the families of frontline workers.
The COVID-19 response for Halloween comes after Melania Trump, President Donald Trump, their son Barron, and several other White House aides tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this year.
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