While Trick-or-Treaters roam Washington in search of Halloween candy on Sunday, the White House is abandoning its annual tradition and closing its doors to little ghosts and goblins in search of treats.
Usually the White House invites trick or treating to receive sweets and treats from the President and First Lady. However, the event will not take place this year.
“The President and First Lady will travel internationally in the final days of October and will not host a special event at the White House,” First Lady spokesman Michael LaRosa said in a statement.
The Bidens will be in Rome, where the president will attend the annual G-20 summit of the world’s leading economic powers on Saturday and Sunday.
Despite the Biden’s absence, the White House doesn’t do a rain check on the scary holiday. According to LaRosa, the Pennsylvania Avenue side of the building will be lit in orange light to celebrate Halloween.
LaRosa said the Bidens encouraged families and children to party by trick or treating in the open air.
While the coronavirus pandemic continues, public health experts claim that outdoor activities and gatherings pose a low risk for the virus to spread.
Halloween is a highly anticipated event for children in the United States. Throughout October, many Americans put up festive decorations, watch horror movies, and plan their costumes.
On Halloween night, the kids dress up in costumes and pack bags before heading out onto the streets of their communities to do trick or treating. They go from door to door and greet their neighbors with the words “trick or treating!” in exchange for candy. At the end of the night, they sort the sweets and enjoy their favorites.
Older generations also celebrate the holiday. Young adults can dress up and go to Halloween parties, while older adults can stay home and hand out candy to trick or treating.
The White House tradition of celebrating Halloween goes back to the administration of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States. According to the White House Historical Association, the first lady Mamie Eisenhower was the first to decorate the White House for the holidays on October 30, 1958. Skeletons and jack-o-lanterns were hung in the State Dining Room, where the first lady hosted lunch for the staff’s wives.
President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy brought more attention to the holiday by having their children visit the Oval Office in their Halloween costumes.
Since then, trick or treating visits the White House every year for candy.
Former President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump hosted an event last year during the pandemic. Although they did not hand out personal treats, White House staff did hand out candy to costumed children, and the Trumps attended the event.
Some of the information for this report is from The Associated Press.