Biden and Jill Biden hand out books and candy while hosting thousands for rainy trick or treating


WASHINGTON (AP) — Gray skies and drizzle added a spooky element and books were as abundant as candy at Halloween eve trick-or-treating that President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden hosted at the White House.

Monday’s “Hallo-READ!” event featured book giveaways and story readings by the first lady, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and authors.

The first lady showed her spirit by sporting feline ears, a tail and a black nose. She said she dressed as her cat, Willow.

“Go have fun and eat lots of candy,” she told a group of costumed children after she read “Ten Spooky Pumpkins,” a counting book.

Jean-Pierre donned a halo and angel wings, saying she chose that over a devil costume.

After she finished reading, the president and first lady spent about 90 minutes welcoming children from local public schools and from military families, who were invited.

As the costume-clad kids walked up along the driveway, Biden dropped M&M’s or Hershey’s Kisses in little boxes stamped with the presidential seal into their bags or buckets. The first lady handed out books.

Jill Biden, who is a lifelong teacher, came up with the “Hallow-READ!” theme and a decor featuring famous literary characters, ghoulish tales and ghost story time, the White House said. A military band played instrumental versions of “Thriller,” “Monster Mash,” and other songs.

Some 8,000 guests were expected, the White House said.

Numerous federal government departments and agencies participated, many with booths dotting the south grounds that were stocked with all types of chocolate candy and other sugary treats provided by the National Confectioners Association and its member companies. Scholastic donated the books.

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