For Laureen Harper, Halloween is a big event. This year, she and her friends plan to carve 150 pumpkins (last year she carved 189) and line them up along the driveway of 24 Sussex to greet the trick-or-treaters tomorrow night. She even wants to include a political theme, carving the face of U.S. President Barack Obama into one pumpkin and putting it right beside one of her husband.
There was a problem, however.
Globe and Mail cartoonist Anthony Jenkins drew several stencils, including the Prime Minister's. And Mrs. Harper saw them. But the Stephen Harper pumpkin, at least in Mrs. Harper's opinion, was a bit too snarling and negative.
"I got excited that he had made a template I could make of my husband," Mrs. Harper said in an e-mail. "But… his was not much fun at all." She said she didn't expect it to be "flattering" but wanted to have a stencil that her kids could carve and have some fun with.
So, a request: Mrs. Harper asked if Mr. Jenkins could draw another take. And although, it's not in Mr. Jenkins' job description or nature to "throw visual bouquets," he said, he made an exception because "kids and a Dad are involved."
Mr. Jenkins tweaked the stencil; Mrs. Harper received it and she and her kids will be carving it.
"I don't ever want to criticize the cartoonist because his job is to create cartoons," Mrs. Harper says. "But my children are exposed to lots of negative stuff about their father. Why would I pick a negative cartoon for them to carve? We look at cartoons all the time and laugh but the real negative ones I don't show them. They are children and they love their father so this one will be fun."
Expect to see the Jenkins-drawn Harper pumpkin alongside one of Obama tomorrow night. Another crowd-pleaser, Mrs. Harper says, is a group of pumpkins that includes Einstein and the Greek letter Pi (get it, pumpkin pie?). "Again, a big laugh for the mathematicians and their kids," she says.
The Prime Minister judges the pumpkins and picks the winner. Apparently no amount of "lobbying" will change his mind.
And don't expect healthy treats from the Harpers. Mrs. Harper goes right for the candy, arguing kids won't come to their house if word gets out on the street that toothbrushes and dental floss are on offer.