The White House — which recently recovered from a viral outbreak among the first family and their aides — will welcome “ghosts, fairies, superheroes, tiny goblins” and other costumed visitors on Sunday for its annual Halloween event.
First Lady Melania Trump’s office said in a news release Friday that, because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, those in attendance will follow certain health precautions during the annual trick-or-treat event
The first lady's office said the extra precautions will be in place to help limit the spread of the coronavirus, including asking guests to socially distance and wear masks.
“All personnel working the event are required to wear a face covering and any staff passing out candy will be required to wear gloves,” according to the news release, adding that the first lady and President Donald Trump will be among those greeting children during their visit.
Hand sanitizer will be available and “each department will utilize a no-touch approach in their area when distributing their product,” Mrs. Trump's office said.
The White House's embrace of coronavirus precautions took on added importance this month after the president, first lady and their teenage son, Barron, were all infected along with various White House advisers.
The president subsequently spent three days in the hospital and he has continued to waffle on the importance of wearing masks and the seriousness of the pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 people in the U.S.
Aside from trick-or-treating, kids will also be able to visit stations for several federal departments and agencies — including NASA, the Department of Education and the Department of Transportation.
NASA “will have space-related items for kids to observe, as well as a display of an inflatable rocket,” for example, while the first lady's office said “children will be able to wave hello to Smokey the Bear from the Department of Agriculture and stop by the Department of Interior station for a Junior Ranger badge and paper ranger hat.”
The White House will be decorated with a “vibrant display of bright-colored leaves that will envelop the South Portico columns in various shades of autumn,” Mrs. Trump's office said.
“An array of chrysanthemums will also cascade down the East and West staircases, presenting subtle highlights of nature’s beauty and will be intermixed with festive pumpkins waiting to greet an audience of costumed trick-or-treaters,” the news release states.
Decorations for holiday events at the White House are traditionally projects that develop under the guidance of the first lady.
In secret audio tapes shared via CNN earlier this month, recorded by former White House aide Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, Mrs. Trump criticized the role when it came to another holiday, compared with other issues in the administration.
“I'm working … my a– off on the Christmas stuff, that you know, who gives a f— about the Christmas stuff and decorations?” the first lady is heard saying in the tapes. “But I need to do it, right?"
Mrs. Trump has since lambasted Wolkoff as a hanger-on who released recordings of their conversations "out of context" and wrote a memoir of "idle gossip trying to distort my character."
The White House says its gates will be open to children, accompanied by their guardians, from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.
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