Trick-or-treaters marched up the White House driveway on a wet, snowy Saturday, past the spider web-like gauze, the pumpkins and the costumed actors to the mansion’s north portico where President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama handed out treats, an annual tradition.
“What’s this? Look at this guy,” the president said at the sight of one costumed child. “A headless man. Terrifying!”
And yes, the sweets included signature boxes of White House M&Ms, signaling a temporary respite from the first lady’s healthy eating campaign. Dried fruit and White House baked cookies rounded out the handouts.
Earlier this week, in an appearance on the “Tonight Show,” Obama joked to host Jay Leno that he had warned his wife that if she wanted to avoid Halloween mischief she might want to dole out more than just fruit and raisins.
“I told her the White House is going to get egged if this keeps up,” he said, suggesting that she might want to add “a couple of Reese’s Pieces or something.”
In the spirit of compromise, a trait the president often says is all too rare in Washington, the M&Ms made it into the goody bags. Not exactly Reese’s Pieces, but close enough. (Truth be told, the M&Ms were included in the treats last year, too). The sweet dough butter cookies were baked by White House Pastry Chef Bill Yosses.
The orange lights bathed the north portico as the president in black fleece jacket and slacks and the first lady in an overcoat greeted the parade of children. The Obamas were joined by the first lady’s mother, Marian Robinson.
All three wished their guests happy Halloween and marveled at their costumes.
Commenting on the dank weather and nearly freezing temperatures, Obama said to nearby reporters: “I know it’s cold here, you guys doing alright? It’s not ideal out here.”
Michelle Obama hugged several of the children and even wrapped one shivering child with her overcoat, declaring, “Oh, she’s freezing!”
Actors from Washington-area theatres dressed as ghosts, Winnie the Pooh, a Star Wars stormtrooper, Charlie Chaplin and more greeted the children along the north lawn driveway.
Children from 17 elementary schools from Washington and nearby Virginia and Maryland school districts were invited. Children from the Boys and Girls Club of America and children from military families also participated. Later, the children of military families were invited to a Halloween party at the White House.