Stumping among pumpkin patches, ponies and the occasional pirate, Joe Lhota journeyed to the South Shore of Staten Island this afternoon to meet a few voters on Halloween.
After yet another quip-laden mayoral debate last night, during which he compared his rival, Bill de Blasio, to a Rocky IV character, Mr. Lhota dished out lollipops and bits of candy at a Halloween festival in Bloomingdale Park. But that didn’t stop him from making another, more ghoulish, comparison today.
“About as tall as Bill,” Mr. Lhota said with a smile, gesturing to a large, inflatable grim reaper.
Reporters pressed Mr. Lhota about whether he was actually comparing Mr. de Blasio to the symbol of death.
“I’m not saying anything,” he coyly replied.
Mr. Lhota and his campaign, meanwhile, supplied mini Tootsie Roll lollipops to seemingly every child that wandered by. Certain costumes, like Buzz Lightyear, Spider Man and a girl dressed as a “lady cop,” seemed to excite the former deputy mayor the most. Another girl dressed as a “creepy doll” with a painted second mouth did not quite amuse Mr. Lhota.
“Is it freaking you out I have two mouths?” the girl, with rosy cheeks and pigtails, asked.
Mr. Lhota grimaced and quietly said, “Yes.”
After weeks of campaign events where the Republican appeared at times stiff and diffident, Mr. Lhota seemed to revel in the Halloween fun. Earlier this week, he compared Mr. de Blasio’s vision for the future to the holiday because it “would scare everyone.” Today, he said he was having “fun every day.”
“You should get your face painted,” Mr. Lhota told Politicker as the group walked past a face-painting station.
Mr. Lhota further said he would be dressing up “as a candidate” for Halloween, implying he would be too busy to don a true costume.
In the Bronx today, Mr. de Blasio, who also handed out candy, issued his own version of a Halloween-themed attack.
“‘Cause it’s Halloween, it’s a good day to talk about Joe Lhota’s tendency to wanna scare everyone,” said Mr. de Blasio. “He has treated the state of things in this city like we’re on the verge of anarchy, and it’s just unfair. It’s disrespectful to the people of this city. ”
Jill Colvin contributed reporting.