If Malahide Characters Went Halloweening…

Patrick Malahide as Uncle Ebenezer : Kidnapped

It was a dark and stormy night.

It’s almost Halloween, so Fearless Admin and I decided it was time for something a little silly:  how would various Malahide characters enjoy Halloween?  Or would they?    Or would they mostly use it as an opportunity to terrorize all the children and steal all the candy in their vicinity?  We like to think they’d approach it something like this…



Mr. Quarles  |  Mr. Hastymite  |  Robert “Limbo” Ridley  |  Ebenezer Balfour  |
Edward Casaubon  |  Best Halloweener of All

RF:  My choices are…

Mr. Quarles
(“After the War“, 1989)

Favourite Halloween Activity:

Tossing the students' dorm for contraband candy. If Malahlide Characters Went Halloweening

Tossing the students’ dorm for contraband candy.

Confiscating candy from students, natch.  It’s bad for his charges’ teeth and health, their hands get all sticky and leave smeary fingerprints everywhere, or they forget where they’ve left their chocolate bars and they melt or get sat on, or end up squished inside text books; and the wrappers turn the dormitories into a tip or make annoying rustling sounds when the little gremlins try to sneak it in class…  So on Halloween, no one gets any candy.  No exceptions.  But it wouldn’t be patriotic for all that candy to go to waste, so I think Admin is right that Mr. Quarles selflessly takes it upon himself to dispose of it in his room later, with a bottle of port and maybe a film star magazine or two (also confiscated) for entertainment.

What’s His Favourite Candy?

I suspect that Mr. Quarles is a licorice allsorts kind of guy.  They were probably a candy he grew up with, congealed into a solid lump in his nan’s candy bowl because they were rarely eaten and were mostly for show (“Those are for company!”).  But I also think he’d be equal opportunity for anything really sugary – because sugar is being rationed and shouldn’t go to waste, you know.  Plus he burns up lots of carbs supervising his charges.

What Would His Halloween Costume Be?

He's pretty terrifying in his teacher costume as it is.

He’s pretty terrifying in his teacher costume as it is.

Mr. Quarles likely wouldn’t indulge in such frivolity, and he’s pretty terrifying just as he is.  But if he was to dress up, he’d pick a costume that completely hid his identity, like the Phantom of the Opera.  That would allow him to carouse all night and have a good time without suffering any damage to his reputation.  When asked the next morning if he enjoyed Halloween, he’d say he spent the night reading a good book and improving his mind, rather than indulging in a silly holiday intended for children.  And it’s not good for children, either, since they’re intended to be serious, organized, and keen to go into the army.

Favourite Scary Story/Movie?

Mr. Quarles' worst nightmare

Mr. Quarles’ worst nightmare
(Image source: Denver Public Library)

I think Mr. Quarles favourite scary story – that is, the one that scares him the most – would be The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham.  Okay, it’s a bit out of his time frame, but I’m taking some artistic license here.  He likely wouldn’t be the least surprised by children being  possessed by malevolent, psychic alien entities thinking they know more than adults, causing mass carnage, and taking over the world.  Plus he’d probably empathize with the heroic teacher who takes it upon himself to destroy the children, killing himself in the process.  However, he’d need a glass of port or two to settle his nerves after reading it.

If He Could Be a Monster, Which Monster Would He Be?

Practicing skulking around at night

Practicing skulking around at night

Some of his students might believe he’s enough of a monster already!  I do think the Phantom of the Opera would be Mr. Quarles’ favourite.   They have creepy stalking of women in common, and both consider themselves unrecognized and unappreciated geniuses in their fields.  They’re both psychically scarred by their injuries too, with those disfigurements resulting in a certain hostility towards the rest of mankind, except that the Phantom’s disfigurement is a little more obvious than Quarles’.  And they both perfected stalking around at night and surprising the unwary.  However, both characters also generate a certain amount of sympathy and pity if you can look under the surface; Mr. Quarles might even be a nice guy if he was ever able to do some introspection.  Perhaps in time for next Halloween.

Mr. Hastymite
(“The December Rose“, 1986)

Favourite Halloween Activity:

Mr. Hastymite would <i>love</i> Halloween.

Mr. Hastymite would love Halloween.

All of them.  Getting dressed up, partying, seducing ladies… you name it.  Lurking in dark alleys and springing out to scare unaccompanied ladies would probably be a favourite as well.  Then he’d make up for it by offering to escort them home, or inviting them go to with him for a drink – with a strangely hypnotic way about him that prevents them from saying no.  But one thing Mr. Hastymite would not do would be to stay home alone (has anyone ever seen his home?) and answer the doorbell to hand out candy.  And you know no one would ever be brave enough to toilet-paper or egg his house.

What’s His Favourite Candy?

I have my doubts Mr. Hastymite would indulge in candy very often, but if he did, I think he’d probably like Maynard’s wine gums.  He’d be more likely to be offering candy (and wine, brandy, or champagne) to ladies instead.

What Would His Halloween Costume Be?

He makes a convincing vampire when he isn't even trying.

He makes a convincing vampire when he isn’t even trying.

It’s a bit on the nose, but Mr. Hastymite wouldn’t have to do much more than put on his favourite white tie and tails, satin-lined opera cape, and black silk topper to be mistaken for a vampire.  He even has Lord Hobart hanging around as his Renfield.  Of course, Mr. Hastymite would laugh at such an absurd notion;  he doesn’t even have fangs and he can go into churches without bursting into flame!  But he’d never mention the number of ladies who’ve visited his flat and have left with mysterious puncture marks on their necks.

Favourite Scary Story/Movie?

Poor, misunderstood Count Orlok!<br>(Image source: Film School Rejects)

Poor, misunderstood Count Orlok!
(Image source: Film School Rejects)

I don’t think there’s much in this world that scares Mr. Hastymite, with the possible exception of poor, grubby chimney sweeps who overhear things they’re not meant to.  But even that is more of an inconvenience than a fear.  If he did have to choose a scary – or rather, tragic – story, it would probably be “Nosferatu“.  Poor Count Orlok!   He’s so misunderstood!  All he wanted to do was survive!  And he was very fond of rats, too.  Mr. Hastymite would probably be puzzled as to why such an obvious tragedy is regarded as a horror by so many people.

If He Could be a Monster, What Monster Would He Be?

Who wouldn't want to be a vampire?

Who wouldn’t want to be a vampire?

Again, it’s a bit on the nose, but I think if Mr. Hastymite had to choose a monster to be, he’d probably be a vampire.  Let’s face it, there are few downsides:  they get to wear evening clothes all the time, stay up all night to do most of their carousing, have ladies throwing themselves at them left and right, subsist mostly on a warm, liquid diet, remain young-looking for eternity, usually have great cheekbones, and are very hard to kill by most methods.  Mind you, I do think Mr. Hastymite would choose to be a much more attractive vampire than Count Orlok, who was just a wee bit too noticeable.  If anyone could make a success out of being a vampire, it would be Mr. Hastymite.

Admin: And my choices are

Robert Ridley, QC
(“Law & Order: UK“, 2009-2010)

Favourite Halloween Activity:

“You coming to the party? Jeffrey Archer will be there.”

The office party where he could show everyone how he got the nickname “Limbo”.  Of course, he’d think he’s the absolute life of the party even if almost everyone there absolutely hates him.  But, he’d also make sure all the very richest and most famous clients were invited, and he’d be sure to drop the names of any celebrity and millionaire or billionaire friends who were unable to attend.

What’s His Favourite Candy?

You don’t get to look this good by eating loads of candy.

I don’t think Ridley maintains that slim physique by eating a lot of candy.  He’s got to be able to look good in those sharply tailored pinstripe suits, after all.   Besides, I think he’s probably more of a brandy and port man.  But, he’d be sure to have a good amount of artisan hand poured and handcrafted chocolate truffles imported from the finest Belgium chocolatiers at great cost, and he’d let all the party goers know how lucky they are to be sampling such rare delicacies.  Ridley always looks for a good reason to brag about his lofty income.

What Would His Halloween Costume Be?

His number one hobby is frosting this guy.

He’d go as Jack the Ripper.  First of all, it is very politically incorrect, so he just knows it would frost that social justice warrior James Steel to no end.   Secondly, he could use it as yet another brag.  “You know, if they ever had caught Jack the Ripper, I could have totally got him off.”  Finally, he knows he’d look absolutely smashing while wearing it.  I mean, it is essentially a Victorian vampire costume only with a flashier cane.  He and Hastymite would soon be exchanging tailor details.

Favourite Scary Story/Movie?

“Patrick Bateman?  Yeah, I could get him a not guilty.”

I don’t think Ridley scares very easily nor does he strike me as the sort of man who goes in for supernatural or gothic horror.  Ridley is far too modern and shiny for those sorts of creaky old things.   But, I have an uneasy feeling he likes “American Psycho“.  Again, he’d enjoy watching James Steel fume as he muses over how he’d defend Patrick Bateman.  Ridley is always one for the cheap but effective tactics, don’t you know.  Plus, the whole slick look at the wealthy and shallow and blacker-than-black humour would likely appeal to him for absolutely all the wrong reasons.

If He Could be a Monster, What Monster Would He Be?

The slinky, slithery “Limbo” makes me think of a snake, so I did a little bit of Googling to find out if there were any snake specific shape-shifters out there.  And, yep, there is.  It is the Ichchadhari Naag of Indian folklore. It gets even better.  According to Wikipedia, “Ichchadhari Naag, in snake form, possess a gem called “Naag Mani”, considered much more valuable than a diamond.”  Well, you’ve got to think that Ridley would just love to slither around with a gem that puts mere diamonds to shame!

Uncle Ebenezer Balfour
(“Kidnapped“, 1995)

Favourite Halloween Activity:

Uncle Ebenezer welcoming the trick or treaters.

That’s easy.  He bolts all the doors and windows, blows out every single candle, hides up the welcome mat (what welcome mat?) and keeps very, very quiet until trick or treating time is completely over.  He might throw up a sign that says “Absolutely no candy here.  Go away!”.  He’d also desperately hope the local kids would toilet paper his house because, you know, free toilet paper!

What’s His Favourite Candy?

Poor Ebenezer doesn’t have a sound enough constitution to handle such rich food as candy.  He’d have to make do with sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, organic, vegan oatmeal cookies made of, I guess, oats and water.  Yum! Of course, that would make him very popular with all the hipster moms, but there is no way Ebenezer would share his two-ingredient cookies with their kids.

What Would His Halloween Costume Be?

“I got a lump of porridge.”

He’s kind of a walking costume already, isn’t he?  I mean, “miser” is pretty much a costume in and of itself, so it isn’t like he really has to bother.  But, maybe he entertains himself, because you know he isn’t going to any parties, by dressing up as a ghost Charlie Brown style.  The best thing is, he wouldn’t even have to break out the scissors since his sheets would already be covered in moth holes.

Favourite Scary Story/Movie?

Patrick Malahide as Uncle Ebenezer : Kidnapped

“Thrawn Janet”, see absolutely no misers come to bad ends in this one.

Ebenezer, being a shut-in, likes to keep things close to home, so I’m sure he’d choose a great Scottish horror tale written by his good buddy (if he had good buddies) Robert Louis Stevenson.  Now, of course he wouldn’t want any cautionary tales about misers or anything. But now “Thrawn Janet” a tale about demonic possession, is about as scary and as Scottish as they come and doesn’t have any poor innocent misers coming to a bad end because of their thrifty ways, so he ought to like that one.  I’ve written about “Thrawn Janet” on this blog before because it is so very truly creepy and weird.  Uncle Ebenezer has great taste. 😉

If He Could be a Monster, What Monster Would He Be?

I guess knitting gold is just as good as spinning.

What the heck is that Rumpelstiltskin thing supposed to be anyway?  An imp?  A goblin?  I don’t know.  But whatever he is, that is what Ebenezer would want to be, no doubt about it.  Anyone, or anything, that can spin gold out of straw would have his stamp of approval.   And hey, if he managed to secure a few first-born children out of the whole deal, like Rumpelstiltskin tried to do, he could then sell them on to pirates for even more gold.  It would be a never-ending gold supply for him.

And One Honourable Mention:

The Rev. Edward Casaubon
(“Middlemarch“, 1994)

Eagerly awaiting trick-or-treaters

Eagerly awaiting trick-or-treaters

RF:  Now, at first glance, this might seem like an odd choice.  I mean, if any children were brave enough to approach Lowick (which is pretty scary-looking on its own) on Halloween, the sight of Casaubon answering the door would probably send them running away screaming into the night.  This is a guy who’s so goth he (somewhat proudly) admits that he “live[s] too much with the dead”.  But if anyone’s going to know all about the origins and customs of Samhain and similar pagan festivals, it’s going to be Casaubon.  He’s spent years studying such things.  Heck, he’ll probably lecture the children’s ears off while Dorothea is passing out the candy (something home-made, like popcorn balls), and insist on slipping his newest pamphlet on Samhain (very favourably reviewed!) into their candy-collecting bags.  Oh well, at least they’ll enjoy the popcorn balls.

Admin:  Well, Wednesday Addams might appreciate his Samhain pamphlet, so he’d have at least one fan.  That is just as long as she doesn’t helpfully underline all the points German philosophers made decades ago. 😮

Who’s the Best Halloweener of All?

Our pick: Mr. Hastymite!

Our pick: Mr. Hastymite!

RF:  This is a tricky one, and we had to leave out some very likely candidates (like Magnus, Chopper Hadley, or Jack Turner), but I have to go with… Mr. Hastymite.  Let’s face it, the guy looks like a vampire year-round, not just on Halloween; he’s perfected the art of menacing children (possibly even better than Mr. Quarles), and he just seems like he’d really sink his teeth into the whole thing – pun intended.  It’s the one holiday where he can truly be himself and no one will notice.  Or they’ll notice, but they’ll just chalk it up to him really getting into his role.  So I have to go with Mr. Hastymite.  😉

Admin: Yes, it has to be Mr. Hastymite.  He’s pretty much what you would wind up with if Halloween became sentient and grew legs.  He looks more like a vampire than most vampires.  Congratulations, Mr. Hastymite, you win the Halloween prize!

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