33 photos that show how Halloween has been celebrated at the White House

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump hand out Halloween candy to visiting schoolchildren in advance of Halloween at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 28, 2019.

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U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump hand out Halloween candy to visiting schoolchildren in advance of Halloween at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 28, 2019.
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Tom Brenner/Reuters
  • 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.
  • 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 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.

The Trumps are celebrating their third Halloween at the White House this year, so 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.

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

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.

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The White House had all sorts of Halloween-themed activities.
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Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

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.

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The White House is decorated with spiders, cobwebs, pumpkins, and stacks of hay.
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Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

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.

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A large pumpkin sat in the center of the front entrance of the White House.
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Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

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.

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Guests received treats and got to take pictures with Obama.
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Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Obama and the first lady gave out Halloween treats to children on October 31, 2016.

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Children of all ages were welcomed to the celebration, like this baby with a pumpkin hat.
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Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Costumed children of journalists and White House staffers were invited to the Oval Office in 2017 to meet President Trump.

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Trump handed out some Halloween treats.
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Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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

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This one is of Alexander Hamilton.
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CARLOS BARRIA/Reuters

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.

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Hundreds of children and their families celebrated Halloween with the Trumps.
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CARLOS BARRIA/Reuters

Standing next to the President, the First Lady greeted a miniature firefighter with a treat from her basket on Halloween 2017.

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

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

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Giant spiders, expansive webs, and purple lighting covered the White House.
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CARLOS BARRIA/Reuters

In 2018, Trump handed out candy bars featuring the presidential seal and his signature.

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Trump holds up a Halloween candy with his signature before giving it to trick-or-treaters at the White House in Washington.
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REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

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 colorful trees. The building’s pillars were decorated to look like giant corn stalks.


Kids engaged in a bunch of spooky Halloween-themed activities on the White House South Lawn.

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Trump puts his arm around a child dressed up as Captain America.
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REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

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.

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The South Portico of the White House.
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Tom Brenner/Reuters

The Trumps stood under a “Halloween” sign on an orange carpet as they offered treats to kids.

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President Trump and first lady Melania Trump hand out Halloween candy to visiting schoolchildren in advance of Halloween at the White House in Washington.
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Tom Brenner/Reuters

As the Trumps handed out candy, spooky music played in the background, including “The Addams Family” theme song.

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Tom Brenner/Reuters

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.

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First lady Melania Trump reacts to a young trick-or-treater dressed as a skeleton during the Halloween festivities.
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Tom Brenner/Reuters

This year, the Trumps again handed out a memorable Halloween token: candy bars featuring a presidential seal.

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A child carries boxes of chocolate handed out by President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump during a Halloween event at the White House.
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Tom Brenner/Reuters