White House calls off Halloween event as Bidens travel to Europe

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden embarked this week on a trip to Europe, which means a longstanding White House tradition has been called off this year.

According to reports, the Biden administration has canceled an annual trick-or-treat event on the White House lawn due to the Bidens’ international visit.

“Illuminated in orange”

The White House has hosted special events for all sorts of American holidays, including Halloween, for many years, but the first lady’s press secretary confirmed that those plans have been canceled.

“On the evening of October 31, 2021, the north facade of the White House will be illuminated in orange in celebration of Halloween,” Michael LaRosa explained in a tweet.

Because of the Bidens’ travel schedule, however, he noted that they “will not be hosting a specific event at the White House.”

Instead, LaRosa noted that the first family “encourages families and children to celebrate Halloween with trick or treating outdoors in their neighborhoods or other outdoor venues.”

Among the president’s planned stops in Europe this week ahead of the G20 summit in Rome, Italy, is a visit to the Vatican to meet with the pope. He is then set to travel to Glasgow, Scotland for a United Nations climate change summit.

“He can’t find time to go to the border”

The children of White House staffers and military service members have traditionally participated in the annual trick-or-treating event and many of those families are sure to be disappointed by the cancelation.

Former President Donald Trump and former first lady Melania Trump appeared to enjoy their respective roles as Halloween hosts as they distributed candy to costumed kids at the White House over the four years that they resided there — including amid last year’s COVID-19 pandemic.

While it might be understandable that international obligations will keep the Bidens from hosting the event this year, it is unclear from available reports why Vice President Kamala Harris or other administration officials could not assume the duties.

Biden’s trip to Europe has led to criticism on other fronts, including Sen. John Thune (R-SD), who slammed the president for traveling overseas while ignoring the crisis along the U.S. southern border.

“It is I think remarkable that the president finds time to go to Glasgow, when he can’t find time to go to the border, so we have a historic number of people coming across the border,” he said.

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