White House Halloweens: Jackie Kennedy, FDR, Reagan, Hillary & More in Costume
A Skeleton Band plays a mirthful dirge on the North Lawn of the White House, Halloween 2009 (Getty Images) (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. Mamie Eisenhower had the State Dining Room decorated with paper Fifties Halloween decorations for a 1956 autumn luncheon. (Eisenhower Library) 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. Jackie Kennedy in her Halloween costume of a garment bag, walking to the West Wing. (more images of her below) But their mother, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy loved the holiday too – and became the first First Lady known to have dressed up in an adult costume of her own for a White House Halloween. In 1962, she took a large black garment bag, cut out two holes for eyes and put it over her head. With black stockings, black boots and black gloves, Jackie managed a few moments of anonymity even in the White House, welcoming the President’s sister Jean Kennedy Smith (who copied Jackie’s costume and wore a red garment bag) and her
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Categories: First Ladies, Holidays, Presidents, The Carters, The Clintons, The Kennedys, The Nixons, The Obamas
Tags: Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Halloween, John Tyler, White House