Throwback Thursday: Trick-or-Treaters Pay President Kennedy a Visit

On October 31, 1963, Kennedy received his costumed children in the Oval Office.


Photo by Cecil Stoughton/ John F. Kennedy Library

On October 31, 1963, two kids celebrated Halloween by paying their dad’s office a visit. “Halloween visitors with the President,” housed at the J.F.K. Library in Boston, shows President Kennedy’s two children, Caroline and John Jr., playing in costume behind their father’s desk in the Oval Office on an evening less than a month before the President’s assassination. (Caroline also seems to be mangling some kind of cat?)

The photo was captured by Cecil Stoughton, the first-ever White House photographer, who often had access to the Kennedys’ more private family moments. In a 2004 interview with National Geographic, Stoughton pointed to moments like this one when asked why the media treated Kennedy differently from his predecessors:

The President really benefited from his youth and the children factor—I mean, you never saw Hoover or Roosevelt playing on the floor with their kids. Pictures of President Kennedy bouncing the children on his knee or playing the drums with them made him appear human.

Stoughton’s best-known image, though, came less than a month later, when he photographed the hurried swearing in of Lyndon Johnson. For now, though, we’ll remember the happier moment he captured 50 years ago today. Happy Halloween!