SCHERERVILLE — Dr. Venkman, Cinderella, Deadpool and an Ewok spent the afternoon together in Schererville along with nearly 4,000 of their peers.
The costumed characters filed into the Halls of St. George as part of the steady stream of people donning capes, crowns, masks and makeup for the third NWI Comic-Con event.
Showrunner Brian Grabinski, founder of NWI Comic-Con, said he was hoping to reach 4,000 attendees at the event, which featured costume contests (called cosplay), artists, memorabilia and more.
"It looks like we're well on our way," Grabinski said around 1 p.m. as he worked the door Saturday.
Even for those who may not be Comic-Con aficionados, the people (or creature) watching is worth the $8 price of admission, which attendees say is a bargain compared to the larger shows in and around Chicago.
Chris English, 32, of Joliet, dressed as Thrall from "World of Warcraft." English wore boots with 5-inch heels that made him a towering 6 feet 1 inches tall over the crowd.
"I thought it was so awesome last year I had to come back," English said of the local event. "I like the comic books, toys, getting to meet a lot of artists."
Five-year-old Samantha Baehman, of Appleton, Wisconsin, dressed as the rollerball robot BB-8 from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," complete with a character helmet, dress made by her mother and matching roller skates.
"We travel to shows a lot," Sharon Baehman, Samantha's mother said.
Samantha dictates the costumes based on what she is into at any given moment, her mother said.
"BB-8 is it today," she said.
Brena Hernandez, 13, of Palatine, Illinois, got a lot of attention as she walked the convention dressed as Beeker from "The Muppets." Her father, Joe, made the costume.
"We wanted a character you don't see a lot of," Joe Hernandez said.
"I just like seeing people's reactions and stuff," his daughter said. "I like seeing all the cosplay."
Sal Rocha, 19, of South Chicago Heights, and Mariah Froncek, 16, of Sauk Village, dressed as Peter Pan and Tinkerbell for the event Saturday. They both work for Magic, Music and More, which provides costumed characters for parties and events.
"We both do theater, acting, dancing," Froncek said. "I really love to see the reactions from the kids."
Rocha has a theory about the people who participate in cosplay.
"I like going to places like this because I like to see people being themselves by not being themselves entirely," he said.