8 of the best Halloween costumes worn by presidents and first families

8 of the best Halloween costumes worn by presidents and first families

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President Clinton and Hillary Clinton in costume with guests at a the First Lady's birthday party and Halloween celebration at the White House. The President and First Lady are dressed as President James Madison and Dolley Madison in 18th century style wigs and attire.
President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton as President James Madison and first lady Dolley Madison in 1993.

  • Then-first lady Jackie Kennedy went trick-or-treating incognito in 1962.
  • Bill and Hillary Clinton dressed as James and Dolley Madison at a 1993 White House Halloween party.
  • George W. Bush’s White House pets wore Halloween costumes in 2007.

Halloween celebrations at the White House date back to 1958, when first lady Mamie Eisenhower filled the historic residence with faux skeletons and jack-o’-lanterns.

Over the years, presidents and first families have worn a variety of costumes. Some have even gone trick-or-treating incognito.

Here are eight photos that show the best Halloween costumes worn by presidents, first ladies, and their families.

In 1962, first lady Jackie Kennedy wore a black garment bag as a Halloween costume so that she could take her children trick-or-treating without getting recognized.
The Kennedy family in Halloween costumes
The Kennedy family on Halloween in 1962.

Kennedy went trick-or-treating with her sister-in-law, Jean Kennedy Smith. They wore matching garment-bag costumes with eye holes — Smith in red, Kennedy in black. Smith’s son Stephen dressed up as a skeleton, while Kennedy’s daughter Caroline dressed as a witch. 

“Worried that Jackie would be recognized by her distinctive voice, I was always the person to knock on the door and pronounce, ‘Trick or treat!'” Smith told Town & Country magazine in 2016. “We made it through several houses anonymously until someone spotted the Secret Service and our cover was blown. Still, we and, most importantly the children, had a marvelous time.”

President Richard Nixon’s daughter Tricia greeted guests at the White House dressed in a colorful outfit with a purple eye mask in 1969.
Tricia Nixon in a Halloween costume in 1969
Tricia Nixon greets guests at a White House Halloween party in 1969.

Tricia handed out clown masks to children at the North Portico entrance of the White House.

President Jimmy Carter and his family dressed up for Halloween in 1978.
The Carter family dressed up for Halloween in 1978.
The Carter family on Halloween in 1978.

The Carters hosted a Halloween party for White House staff featuring a 16-foot jack-o’-lantern decoration at the entrance, according to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library.

Their daughter, Amy, dressed up as a clown, while one of their grandsons wore a Superman costume. The president and first lady wore matching black eye masks.

President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton dressed up as their predecessors, President James Madison and first lady Dolley Madison, in 1993.
President Clinton and Hillary Clinton in costume with guests at a the First Lady's birthday party and Halloween celebration at the White House. The President and First Lady are dressed as President James Madison and Dolley Madison in 18th century style wigs and attire.
President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton as President James Madison and first lady Dolley Madison in 1993.

The Clintons wore 18th-century-style wigs and attire to the White House Halloween party. The gathering doubled as a birthday party for Hillary, whose birthday is October 26.

Barbara Bush and her cousin Zander Ellis attended a gold-themed Halloween party in New York City in 2006.
Zander and Barbara Bush dressed up for Halloween
Zander Ellis and Barbara Bush on Halloween in 2006.

The Golden Blast Halloween event at Bungalow 8 was also attended by celebrities such as Michelle Trachtenberg, Lydia Hearst, and Tinsley Mortimer.

President George W. Bush’s pets got into the Halloween spirit in 2007, as well.
George W. Bush's pets dressed up for Halloween in front of the White House in 2007
From left to right: White House pets, India, Miss Beazley and Barney on the South Lawn of the White House in 2007.

India the cat wore a wizard hat and cape. Miss Beazley dressed as a strawberry, and Barney wore a bandana as part of a cowboy costume.

During their first Halloween in the White House in 2009, first lady Michelle Obama dressed up as a leopard, complete with face paint and costume ears.
Barack and Michelle Obama on Halloween. Michelle Obama is dressed up as a leopard.
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama greet trick-or-treaters at the White House in 2009 in Washington, DC.

The Obamas invited local students and military families to come trick-or-treating at the White House.

First lady Jill Biden wore butterfly wings and a purple wig with purple face paint to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters in 2022.
Joe Biden and Jill Biden dressed up for Halloween
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive to give treats to trick-or-treaters on the South Lawn of the White House in 2022.

President Joe Biden’s outfit was more low-key — a navy raincoat and baseball cap.

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