First Lady Pat Nixon welcomes “Snorky” the elephant character from the popular 1970s kids TV show, The Banana Splits to her 1971 White House Halloween party.
In the post-World War II era of consumerism that marked the 1950s, American children began heading out to trick-or-treat on Halloween by the hundreds of thousands, redefining ancient Celtic rituals marking All Hallow’s Eve that were first brought to the United States by Irish immigrants in the middle of the 19th century.
The young children of Vice President Richard Nixon – Tricia (born in 1946) and Julie (born in 1948) – were no different from their generation. Pat Nixon made costumes for her daughters and when the Vice President travelled to the Pacific Northwest during the1958 mid-term campaign, the daughters came along; while the Vice President and Mrs. Nixon appeared at a Seattle rally, the girls hit the trick-or-treat path with a local committeewoman’s children.
The family’s love of Halloween manifested during their first year of the presidency, when Tricia Nixon, not yet married and living with her parents, hosted the first White House Halloween party there. “It is one of my favorite holidays, and I thought it would be something fun for the children,” she told reporters.
Three of the five Halloweens of the Nixon years were marked by parties, the first in 1969, a second one hosted by First Lady Pat Nixon in 1971 and a third in 1972. The full story with details is found here at the Nixon Foundation website. Below are images from the events.
Pat Nixon with her daughters in 1954, in Halloween costumes she made them.
The White House with a giant pumpkin as an entry way on the North Portico, 1969.
Tricia Nixon welcoming guests to the 1969 White House Halloween party.
Actor who played the famous character Barnabas Collins of the popular horror drama series “Dark Shadows” was the guest star of the 1969 party – and bared his fangs at the sight of the First Daughter’s neck.
Tricia Nixon distributing masks to guests, along with two witches on the North Portico, 1969.
Barnabas Collins the television vampire vamps it up with guests, 1969.
The scene on the North Portico, 1969.
Vampire, witches and harem girl, 1969.
Barnabas Collins has a word with a guest, 1969.
Amid a table of pumpkins carved by White House staff, Presidential advisor on the arts Nancy Hanks served as judge of the 1969 contest.
Tricia Nixon in the White House entrance hall at the 1969 White House Halloween party; all the White House staff who attended came in costumes.
The First Daughter with guests in the Entrance Hall, in front of a crazy mirror, 1969.
Guests at the 1969 White House Halloween party on the North Portico.
The children guests at the 1969 White House Halloween party enjoyed orange-frosted ginger cake and orange spice punch in the State Dining Room.
The First Daughter poking her head through a witch cut-out, set up in the Blue Room, 1969.
First Lady Pat Nixon hosting the 1971 White House Halloween party, on the North Portico steps with characters from the popular kids television show, “The Banana Splits.”
Mrs. Nixon watching a magic act, part of the entertainment during the 1971 White House Halloween party.
Pat Nixon joining her guests for Halloween snacks in the State Dining Room, 1971.
White House staff and The Banana Splits pose on the North Portico after the 1971 White House Halloween party.
Tricia Nixon holding the chimpanzee from the popular children’s television show, “Daktari.”
Tricia Nixon, putting her head through a pumpkin cut-out at the 1969 Halloween party. (UPI)
Although he was too busy to attend the three White House Halloween parties held during his presidency, as a former president Richard Nixon enjoyed the holiday by encouraging local children near his New Jersey home to come in their costumes and trick-or-treat.
A Halloween card from former President Richard Nixon and former First Lady Pat Nixon, given to trick-or-treaters at their New Jersey home (PDA Galleries)
Former President Nixon with more trick-or-treaters at his New Jersey home, early 1990s.
Categories: Halloween, Holidays, The Nixons
Tags: Halloween, Pat Nixon, Richard Nixon, Tricia Nixon, White House, White House holidays