23 photos that show how Halloween is celebrated at the White House

  • Halloween at the White House has been a fun tradition honored 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 their first ladies have welcomed costumed children to the White House to trick-or-treat on Halloween amid festive decorations and entertainment.
  • Here’s how Halloween is celebrated at the White House.

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 children of 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.

Ahead of the Trumps celebrating their second Halloween at the White House on Sunday night, here’s a look at how various administrations have marked the holiday over the past 60 years.


Caroline Kennedy and John F. Kennedy Jr. showing off their Halloween costumes to their father President John F. Kennedy in the Oval Office on October 31, 1963.

Cecil W. Stoughton/White House Photographs/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and MuseumJFK laughed as his children visit the Oval Office in costume.

On October 19, 1977, Amy, the daughter of President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter, and 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, President Obama and the First Lady 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 President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed everyone to the White House for Halloween in 2015.


A bumble bee and some emojis took photos of President Obama at the White House 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 Trump.

Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesTrump handed out some Halloween treats.

Specially carved jack-o-lanterns of important American figures decorated the White House on Halloween 2017.


As part of the 2017 festivities, children were invited to trick or treat at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC.


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.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesThe treats were wrapped in orange plastic baggies.

That same day, the White House looked fun and foreboding, thanks to elaborate decorations.

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