U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, Halloween 2009. (Kristoffer Tripplaar/Via Bloomberg)

The Obamas have hosted a White House party every year since 2009, when the first lady wore a cute leopard costume, Johnny Depp and Tim Burton dropped by, and there were skeletons on the North Lawn.

But presidential Halloweens go back to Mamie Eisenhower, according to historian Carl Anthony. As the holiday gained popularity in the U.S., she decorated the executive mansion in skeletons, black cats, pumpkins and crepe paper from Woolworth’s. Caroline and John-John Kennedy were the first kids to trick-or-treat in the White House; Tricia Nixon the first to host neighborhood children.


Jackie Kennedy, Halloween 1962 (Robert Knudsen/White House/JFK Library)

“That is really her sense of the ridiculous,” said Anthony. “[She] would be the last person in the world to wear a garment bag on her head.”

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