Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Michelle Obama Cat Woman, Gibbs Darth Vader at White House Halloween Party. Pool Report

| 12 Comments

michellecatwoman.JPG

POOL REPORT FROM RICHARD WOLF, USA TODAY

Pool report #4
White House
Oct. 31, 2009

POTUS and FLOTUS greet some of the 2,600 children and adults invited to trick-or-treat at the White House for Halloween. Highlights: FLOTUS as Cat Woman, Gibbs as Darth Vader, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice as Goofy.

The north front of the White House was tinted orange and bedecked for Halloween as children began filing in, we're told at 5 p.m. The pool was escorted up at about 6:15 p.m. Among the sights and sounds: Three giant pumpkins, each weighing about 1,000 pounds (grown in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Wisconsin). "Skeleton" brass players and kettle drummers in black leotards. Red and yellow butterflies inside giant bubbles. Two giant orange and black eyes peering out from first-floor windows. A giant black spider and cobwebs hanging over the North Portico. Walking "trees" on stilts. Star Wars and other characters handing out candy. Hundreds of pumpkins and a few scarecrows. A "scuba diver" replete with bubbles. And much more. Most of the characters came from theatrical groups, including the Red Moon Theater in Chicago and D.C. companies.

POTUS, FLOTUS and First Grandmother Marian Robinson, all smiling broadly, handed out treats for about 30 minutes from 6:30 to 7 p.m. on the front steps. First, the treats: White House M&Ms, a sweet dough butter cookie from the White House pastry shop and, of course, some dried fruit (cherries, apricots, pears, apples and papayas). POTUS was in casual slacks, checked shirt and black sweater. FLOTUS, more in the spirit, had an orange-and-black leopard-type top and cat ears (the Cat Woman), black eye shadow, her hair in a bun and lots of gold bracelets on one arm. The three of them were continuously handed fresh baskets of the wrapped-in-plastic treats to dole out by staff in chef's hats. Children and parents who arrived earlier or later didn't get their treats from the First Family, but from other characters.

The children, ages 6 to 14 (but some obviously with younger brothers and sisters), came from 11 area schools -- five in the District, three in Maryland and three in Virginia (see list below) -- all chosen by the Department of Education. There were supposed to be about 2,000 children. Final count, according to First Lady's staff, was 2,600 children and adults. At one point, a toddler in his father's arms burst into tears upon seeing the president. Most of those exiting the line said the president simply said "Happy Halloween" as they passed. The event was run by the National Park Foundation, which provided each child with a Junior Ranger activity book..

Then, inside: A couple hundred military families, chosen by each service, and White House staffers and their children roamed the first floor of the White House as an old-fashioned turntable played albums -- yes, albums. POTUS and FLOTUS came into the East Room at 7:12 p.m. to greet some of them personally. Included: Robert Gibbs dressed as Darth Vader, with son Ethan; Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, dressed as Goofy (the president jokingly asked cameras not to take her photo). The First Couple handed out the same treats that went to those passing by outside; at one point the president squatted down to talk to some of the children, seated on the floor.

As the pool was being ushered out, the president spoke briefly. He told the military families "We are so grateful to you," especially those who are separated from family members. He thanked staffers and their children, at which point FLOTUS piped in, "They're so cute!"

"They're adorable," POTUS said, "as is, by the way, my wife -- a very nice-looking Cat Woman."

The president told everyone to enjoy the party and the characters but warned, "Some of them are pretty big and scary." He noted that younger daughter Sasha "doesn't like big furry things." (Neither Obama offspring was seen, but we're told they were there.)

The schools represented outside:
District of Columbia Schools:

Oyster-Adams Bilingual School, Washington DC

Powell Elementary School, Washington DC

River Terrace Elementary School, Washington DC

Stanton Elementary School, Washington DC

Achievement Prep Academy, Washington DC

Maryland Schools:

William B. Wade Elementary School, Waldorf, Maryland

Hammond Elementary School, Laurel, Maryland

Kenilworth Elementary School, Bowie, Maryland

Virginia Schools:

Patrick Henry Elementary School, Alexandria, Virginia

Abingdon Elementary School, Arlington, Virginia

Ashburn Elementary School, Ashburn, Virginia



Rich Wolf
USA TODAY

12 Comments

Boo

What a great first family we have. Our country is indeed fortunate to have such hip and giving people running our country. Thanks for all your kindness to us citizens. You endear yourselves to all by celebrating Halloween with all the children.

The Obama's know how to have fun with their children.They share and play well with others. Love it!

How wonderful it was for the First Family to have Halloween at the White House (Their Home). We enjoyed the decorations. They seem to enjoy the American celebrations as well as we two Senior citizens do. Thanks for adding to the "Spirit" of this special day for children.

gibbs...lol...he always has overated himself...lol!!poor, poor guy.

I'm sorry why are you calling our President Potus abd first lady Flotus

i heard the Obama's gave out dried-fruit n nut snacks. god, i hate them. even when they do something nice, they r lame. ms. 1st lady take 1 day off of ur 'healthy farmer' image n enjoy a day of CANDY.

POTUS - president of the united states FLOTUS - first lady of the united states......goodness.....

I can't believe how mesmerized by celebrity liberals get. It's amazing how they will through away any ounce of freedom if a leader appears and talks well, looks nice, while in the background, his czar's are seizing every part of our nation and turning it into an extreme welfare state.

For dot:
POTUS = President of the United States
FLOTUS = First Lady of the United States
but don't worry, it threw me the first time I read it also.

I think it's great that they gave dried-fruit and nut snacks. We are a very obese society and we've got to change from that. Not because of looks but because of health. I know a lot of us want to be around for a long time to experience our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow up. If we take care of our bodies, our bodies will take care of us.

Thank you First Lady!

sean, m & m 's are candy. not very good chocolate, actually, really tasteless chocolate, but candy. by the way, sean, dried fruit is way high in sugar content.

too bad you hate the obamas. hating only hurts the hater, you know.

I LOVE seeing the White House as the "peoples" house once again! Kudos to the Obamas for opening up thier home to a group of children to have an experience of a life time. I think the goody bags that were put together for the trick or treaters were great, a real "sugar" goodie and also a natural goody that some of the kids may find isn't too bad!

Leave a comment

Get the Sweet widget

More widgets

Video

Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Stay in touch

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 31, 2009 8:06 PM.

Michelle Obama at Yankee Stadium on the field. Cool picture was the previous entry in this blog.

President Obama official schedule and guidance, Nov. 2, 2009. Focus on economy, Swedish Prime Minister is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.