WASHINGTON — With a bit of rejiggering, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump played host Sunday to hundreds of superheroes, unicorns, skeletons and even a miniature version of themselves as part of a Halloween celebration at the White House.
In years past, the president and first lady personally handed out candy to the costume-clad kids. This year, the treats were provided separately as participants walked along a path on the South Lawn.
The kids still briefly met the president and first lady, who waved and offered words of encouragement from a safe distance about how much they liked the costumes. Trump and the first lady have both recently recovered from COVID-19.
Trump was particularly pleased with a young boy with a distinctly Trump head of hair and a partner who did her best Mrs. Trump impersonation. The president motioned for them to turn and pose for the cameras, and they happily agreed.
Another tot, a true princess it appeared, was so smitten with the cameras that she kept waving at them as she walked along, never noticing the VIPs behind her.
The spooky celebration was changed up a bit as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Guests older than 2 were required to wear face coverings and practice social distancing. The same went for all White House personnel working the event, while any staff giving out candy also wore gloves.
The South Portico of the White House was decorated with bright-colored leaves in various shades of autumn, chrysanthemums and pumpkins, while a military band set the mood by playing songs such as Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
The first lady, recovered from a bout with COVID-19, returned to the spotlight Thursday, two days after canceling her first campaign rally appearance in months, citing a lingering cough.
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"Mrs. Trump continues to feel better every day following her recovery from COVID-19, but with a lingering cough, and out of an abundance of caution, she will not be traveling today," the first lady's spokeswoman and chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham, said in a statement to USA TODAY.
Trump, a low-key first lady, has not gone to a campaign rally for more than a year. Her last public appearance related to the campaign was on Sept. 29 at the first presidential debate in Cleveland.
The first lady has been noticeably more pro-mask than her husband or other figures in his administration, having posted tweet messages and videos urging people to follow CDC guidelines about wearing masks to prevent the spread of the virus.
But she has not worn a mask in every single instance since the pandemic curtailed her schedule of appearances even more than usual.
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Contributing: The Associated Press; Maria Puente, USA TODAY
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump, Melania Halloween event features masks, social distancing, kids