Main Content

First Lady Mamie Eisenhower publicly decorated the White House for Halloween for the first time in 1958. She hosted a lunch for the wives of staff members in the State Dining Room. Decorations included skeletons hanging from the wall lights, yellow jack-o’-lanterns and shocks of dried corn in the corners of the room. With the arrival of young children at the White House during the Kennedy administration, Halloween photographs emerged of the Kennedy children in the Oval Office with their costumes. President and Mrs. Kennedy also began a tradition of hosting a trick-or-treat Halloween event for friends and staff. Larger events have been held on the grounds of the White House ever since, especially by first families with younger children, such as Amy Carter, Chelsea Clinton, and Malia and Sasha Obama. Presidents and First Ladies have sometimes donned costumes themselves to take part in the celebrations. On one memorable occasion, at the 1993 White House Halloween party, President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton dressed up as President James Madison and First Lady Dolley Madison. More recently, presidents and first ladies have decorated the South Portico with different Halloween decorations. They then stand outside in the South Driveway, greeting trick-or-treating children and their parents with candy, treats, and other souvenirs.

You Might Also Like