(Photo Gallery of Presidential Families in Costumes follow below this essay)
Halloween has been celebrated in the United States at parties for well over a century, but not until the 1950s did it go entirely mainstream with mass-produced costumes for children and packaged candy to give them as treats. So it was true among Presidential First Families.
During the 1950s, First Lady Mamie Eisenhower became the first known White House resident to officially mark the holiday by having the state floor rooms decorated with ghosts, goblins, spider, skeletons and cobwebs. In fact, during her large luncheons held at that time of the year, she had the State Dining Room outfitted with Woolworth paper skeletons hanging from the chandelier, paper black cats and witches placed around the tables and carved pumpkins as centerpieces. In some rooms, she had orange light-bulbs replace clear ones to cast a ghostly shadow and color for atmosphere. In the Cross Hall, she wrapped the stately white columns in orange and black crepe paper streamers and had bales of hay and cornstalks parked alongside them.
A few years later, in the early 1960s, the annual holiday celebration coincided with the White House residence of the very young children of the President and Mrs. Kennedy, Caroline and John who thus became the first First Daughter and First Son to mark Halloween in the old mansion.