Obamas turn White House into Halloween central

October 31, 2009

The White House glowed pumpkin orange on Saturday when the Obama family turned 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue into Halloween central, complete with a giant stuffed spider dangling from a web above its front door.

OBAMA/More than 2,000 local area children and their families were invited for the traditional trick-or-treat event.  

The Obamas spent about 30 minutes handing out cellophane bagfulls of boxed red, white and blue M&M’s. The boxes bore the presidential seal. Also tucked in was a home-baked orange-glazed cookie and, in a nod to Michelle Obama’s efforts to promote healthy food, dried apricots and cranberries.

The president didn’t wear a costume for his first Halloween in the White House. Michelle Obama went as a cat woman, complete with leopard-print top and furry ears on a headband. Daughters Malia and Sasha were there for the fun, but were not stuck with any candy line duties. 

The scene was worthy of a Hollywood extravaganza. Bubble machines blanketed the North Portico, the ceremonial entrance to the White House. Pumpkins, some carved and candle lighted, lined the marble steps. Behind Obama stood a white-helmeted storm trooper character from “Star Wars,” along with the film’s Chewbacca, the hairy, apelike “wookie.”  

OBAMA/ Entertainers from the Chicago-based Redmoon Theater and other companies wove their own thrills and chills for those in line. A brass band clad in skeleton suits belted out a free jazz-style funeral stomp. Outsized figures on stilts simulated moving trees. Women in butterfly suits maneuvered inflatable, 10-foot (3-meter) snow-globe-like spheres on the White House lawn.

To heighten the Halloween effect, the White House was flood-lit through orange filters. Giant pumpkins weighing as much as 1,000 pounds (450-kg) dotted the 18-acre (7-hectare) grounds.  And the big, black spider hung hauntingly between the tall white columns framing the front door.

After handing out the treats, the president welcomed the children of military families chosen by the armed services along with the kids of White House staff in the East Room.

OBAMA/Then Susan Rice, Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations, caught his eye. She was decked out as the Disney character Goofy. “Can people please not take a picture of my ambassador to the United Nations,” Obama joshed photographers gathered to one side. He fretted aloud that U.S. diplomatic efforts might be spooked by the sight of her.

Photo credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (Halloween at the White House)

27 comments

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How much did this wonderful display cost? What is the cost of clean up and damage after 2000 people trample all over the grounds. Why not spend the money on a nice Halloween dinner for the less fortunate and why can’t the girls pass out candy and treats at such an affair?

Posted by Liz Titus | Report as abusive

So does this mean that Chirstmas(and not the HOLIDAYS)will be celebrated thereas well, whats next Kwanza?

Posted by gerry | Report as abusive

It’s wonderful that the nations HOUSE is finally celebrating the joys of being an American. I wish I lived in DC and could join in the fun!

Posted by Robin | Report as abusive

How much did this cost?

Posted by Natasha Smith | Report as abusive

Here we go again? Why do we have to question how much whatever the Obamas do cost? We know that they had the veterans children at the white house and yet people still say he should have handed out to the less fortunate. So the Veterans children don’t deserve that?Anyway, i think the White house did a good joib and i guess you can’t just please everyone. Wish i lived in DC!! I love your Cat woman outfit Michelle, simple but nice.

Posted by Canucks | Report as abusive

Ahhh, the witch hunt reigns, how appropriate! So it makes you feel uncomfortable that our new President and the First Family are “allowed” to celebrate a fun holiday by inviting the community into the White House and supporting the arts by hiring outstanding performers. What would happen if next time you want your money to go feeding the “less fortunate,” you put your precious tax dollars where your mouth is and invite them over to your house for a nice supper? Or maybe we ought to just roughly estimate how much we think this horrible waste cost us, the taxpayers, and bill the White House for the amount. I mean, we are entitled, right? Golly, I wonder how much of your earnings you allot for razor blades in the rotten apples you generously pass out on Halloween?Merry Kwanzaa and everything else! Most importantly… get ahold of yourselves!

Posted by jt | Report as abusive

Why is there the never ending bores who always ask whenever there is something fun and interesting at the White House: How much did it cost?Get over yourself.Who cares.The first family has a right to some fun and the majority of us do not care and enjoy the fun and interesting stuff.I did not care when there was a Repub in the White House and I especially do not care now that there is a dem. Either way it is great for the country, for morale and for the first family to have some lighthearted fun.Scrooges.

Posted by vwcat | Report as abusive

Top ten Halloween costumes:1. The unfinancable healthcare bill (the horror, the horror).2. George Bush, fresh from the political grave.3. Dick Cheney, the ghost of administrations past.4. The rapidly decaying American dollar.5. The Federal balance (bloody red, of course)6. Bill Clinton, dishevelled, forgetting he doesn’t live here any more.7. Palin, the lipstick wearing bulldog (and recent economic expert)8. A bummed out stoner, wondering why Obama didn’t turn out to be a pacifist anti-capitalist reformist.9. Joe the former plumber (now Joe the unemployed and destitute) taking cold comfort in the fact the recession is officially ‘over’.10. The common voter, wondering when Obama will actually do what he promised, wondering whether Obama actually promised to do anything, wondering whether Obama will actually do anything, and wondering how long it is until the next election…

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

A zombie came staggering down Pennsylvania Avenue this Halloween night, muttering, “Brains…brains…”He came upon brian lee and TC, who were standing there, waving their tea party protest signs.After pausing for a moment to look at them, he staggered onwards. “Brains…brains…”Happy Halloween to all!

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

The top ten costumes list is great!!It should be added as a sidebar to the article or at least moved to the permanent 1st spot on the list. I suppose its circulating in mass emails, but most thinking people delete those.

Posted by admirer | Report as abusive

As a Canadian I think its admirable that the American President and his family can be relaxed enough to host this fun event for the children of veterans. America needs to relish some of the ‘normal’ activities of its society for a change instead of letting everything get hacksawed by political opponents of your new leader and his fine family.

Posted by Barrie O. Ward The Canadian Geezer | Report as abusive

[...] Front Row Washington » Blog Archive » Obamas turn White House into … [...]

As an American tax payer I do not mind the White House Halloween party at all. I gladly support showing the children of Veterans a good time. However, I would like my box of M&M’s with the presidential seal on it too.

I love Obama and I feel that he is simple and natural

Posted by Manal | Report as abusive

I thought it was a great article and wonderful that the First Family was able to host such an event at the White House. It was simple clean fun and what is wrong with that?

Yay for the Obamas! They prove once again they are normal American citizens! Thanks for all you do!

Question of naysayers: How much did it cost ? It cost us $15 for candies that we bought for the kids when they called at our house last night. We were delighted to spend that amount.

Posted by Vinod Varma | Report as abusive

Here we go again,, is there anything Obama can do without being criticized? He could do a Republican favorite and rather than do something neat for some kids just give money to the current day robber barons to encourage them to keep screwing the public.This system makes me want to vomit!

Posted by Not Unemployed anymore | Report as abusive

DHave Americans become anti-kid, anti-family, along with being anti-black? Read the blogs! I guess many folk, don’t even know how racist they are. If they want to attack politics, that is one thing, many of these blogs are similar to putting Hillary down because of her legs. For God’s sake, America,”Grow up”. It makes it harder to feel like a proud American. I have not heard anyone put down a politician for baldness or obesity,etc. The world is beginning to respect us, is that scary, to many of you?I don’t think it is because of the likes of some of the loud mouth politicians. Most people here know that we need health care reform. It is not socialism. Unless,the whole wide world is socialist. Our taxes should not exceed what we pay now, if we include Insurance, Meds., lawsuits,physical therapy, and expensive use of the ER. Lakota

Posted by Don C Landers | Report as abusive

Not Unemployed anymore. lol. What makes this president so special he can’t be criticized for everything…my my how the rules change now that your guy is in office. Problem is, he is much worse than anything we had before…

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

In response to Liz Titus, there were not 2000 people trampling the grounds. I was there and we were not allowed anywhere but on the driveway (Secret Service in heavy armor and big guns took care of that issue). We walked up one side of the circle drive and walked off the other after the children got there very small goodie bag which had more dried fruit than candy (and a small envelope from the National Park Foundation with temporary tattoos and a small pamphlet style activity book. The only disappointment for my kids was that they didn’t get to see the President — he was only out for a short time and we were not in that part of the line.

Posted by CK Julian | Report as abusive

I am not a democrat and did not vote for President Obama. That said, the President and our First Lady are a class act. They are our First Family and raising two young girls. What a great time for all at the White House. 1000 lb pumpkins on the lawn, how cool. I am sure our First Lady was behind the event, great job! Pretty pathetic for anyone to critize our First Family over Halloween at the White House.

Posted by Matt from NM | Report as abusive

I could care less if they want a Halloween party with their children, or at the White House, although I think it was mainly for another photo opportunity. My concern is socialism taking over our once free country and government- taking from those who work and make, in order to give to those on the take. Vote those who do not listen to the people out. Term limits are needed! Wake up Americans. The government that gives everything you want…. can also take everything you have.

Posted by Pat | Report as abusive

hi getplaning are zombies the same as blood suckers?although they would not have been coming down pennsylavania avenue they would have been coming out of a residence there!Thanks for liberal signature saying”we are so smart”sorry not convinced!look up the quotation” the intelligence of Men” you will see what i mean.Always remember Churchill was only up to 6th grade,i bet Obama wishes he had some of his resolve.Incidentally i am not talking about your hero,i am talking about Winston not Ward!

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

[...] Front Row Washington » Blog Archive » Obamas turn White House into … [...]

American politics turn into joker

Good strategic Nationalist move, while having some light family moments with those whose future we hold in our hands.

Posted by Casper | Report as abusive

security…

Great post!…

When someone writes who cares how much did the big Halloween Party cost, then they must have a job and can do things with their children. However many of us do not have the luxury to throw a big bash when you are out of work. If the Obamas were not worried about the cost and what the rest of unemployed tax payers thought then why would they not advertise the fact they were having a big splashy Halloween Party. This is just typical of Obama who says one thing and does the opposite. Like when he said, “We all need to sacrifice.” Just when has he sacrificed anything? Trips to Europe, Hawaii, Martha’s Vineyards, England, Brazil, etc. all paid by the tax payers who have been out of work for years and not a vacation in years, yet the messiah has had plenty of vacations on the tax payers dime. This reminds me that Obama will not show anyone his passport records, kindergarten records, Punahou School records, Occidental College records, Columbia University records, Columbia thesis, Harvard Law School records, Harvard Law Review articles, University of Chicago scholarly articles, Illinois State Bar Association records, Illinois State Senate records/schedules, medical records, Obama/Dunham marriage license, Obama/Dunham divorce documents, Soetoro/Dunham marriage license and adoption records. If he has nothing to hide why keep it all locked up?

Posted by DocFreeman | Report as abusive

[...] is no longer even publicly available. Everyone else – including the Huffington Post, CNN, Reuters, and of course the NY Times – dutifully covered the President and First Lady handing out [...]

[...] is no longer even publicly available. Everyone else – including the Huffington Post, CNN, Reuters, and of course the NY Times – dutifully covered the President and First Lady handing out candy [...]