LEWISTON — Benjamin Santos has been costume-playing, known as cosplaying, for a long time — and his Hellboy outfit is well-known in the New England convention circuit.

“This is my seventh year doing Hellboy,” he said. “The original version I just had Dixie cups glued to my head for the horns.”

Now he has round cork pieces. The belt is scrap leather, a horseshoe and a bent-up shower rod.

“The fist of doom, it’s a hockey glove with poker chips and an empty dust wipe tin,” he said. He painted the parts red and put them together.

The unique creation made up of items found at Goodwill is even signed by Hellboy himself, Ron Perlman.

Santos’ father, Bud, was intrigued when Ben started cosplaying. Now they go to conventions together, along with Bud’s wife, Bonnie.

Bud was dressed in his Han Solo costume on Saturday at Goodwill, which was made entirely of finds from that store, except for the wig and pistol he already had.

“The boots were the hardest piece to find in my size,” he said. “They’re ladies 11s and the jacket is a woman’s jacket, too.” 

His holster was handmade using a tutorial from YouTube.

“I could have bought one for $100,” he said, but making it was cheaper and fairly easy.

Bud normally dresses in his Doctor Who costume of the very first doctor from 1963. He said he was inspired to do the Han Solo look because of the recent release of “Stars Wars: The Force Awakens.”

“Han Solo got old — and I got old,” he said.

It took him about two months total to find and assemble the pieces.

Santos goes to a lot of costume and cosplay events, including how-tos and conventions. When he first started out in the convention world, it was difficult to find them, know what they were and who would be there.

Santos decided to pull his resources and create a convention finder website, cosplayconventioncenter.com. Visitors to the site can can pick a state and all scheduled events are listed with appropriate links and information.

Santos’ main tips are to work with what you’ve got, be creative and have fun.

He said he’s seen a lot of people start out cosplaying who feel very uncomfortable in crowds, but come alive in costume.

“It transfers to their everyday life,” he said. “They can use what they learn from cosplaying and apply it to their life and their jobs.”

“Cosplay is for everyone,” he said. “There is something for everyone with any interest. It’s great for anyone of any age.”

Santos’ main lesson from helping people find costume pieces at Goodwill is that they don’t have to go big and expensive to have a good costume.

“It’s important to use your imagination,” he said.

Goodwill has Halloween-related items 50 percent off this weekend, so you can put together your last-minute looks.

Santos’ last piece of advice for anyone putting together a costume for Halloween or looking to cosplay: “It can be complicated or simple, it’s up to you.”

Looking for your first or next convention? Visit Ben Santos’ website cosplayconventioncenter.com for a detailed list. 


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