MAYS LANDING — The costume contest held Saturday at Level Up Entertainment in the Hamilton Mall as part of Halloween ComicFest 2017 showed which pop culture franchises have enduring interest and those that hope to get there.

Even though it was a Halloween-related event, there was as strong a showing of fantasy, science-fiction, video-game and original characters as there was horror.

Sean Rothwell, co-owner of Level Up, said Saturday that more people passed through his store for the fifth annual Halloween ComicFest than last year. More than 1,000 people attended the event last year, he said.

Brandon Somers, 27, of Egg Harbor Township, has an affinity for one of the most successful movie franchises of all time. He dressed as Emperor Palpatine, who made his first appearance in the “Star Wars” movie “The Empire Strikes Back” in 1980.

Somers’ outfit required him to wear a big black cloak, a $70 old man’s face mask from Spirit Halloween and red contact lenses.

Somers’ fiancee, Brittney Dewey, 25, also of Egg Harbor Township, dressed as an original “Star Wars” character she created named Oakrina.

“I like the idea of being somebody else,” said Somers, who has also dressed as a Jedi from “Star Wars” and a member of the Ghostbusters.

Even though the original “Ghostbusters” movie was released about 15 years before he was born, George Arsenis, 16, of Northfield, came to the mall dressed as one of the characters with his proton pack on his back. His friend, Kate Irons, 16, of Ventnor, showed up as an original character she created name Dark Angel.

Arsenis came up with the idea of dressing as a Ghostbuster after seeing other people do it online.

“It’s fun to see the people’s reactions,” said Arsenis, who also dressed up as a “Ghostbusters” character in April for OC Con in Ocean City.

Charles Fields Jr., 30, of Egg Harbor Township, devoted five months to creating a costume for the character Ezio from the video game “Assassin’s Creed II” from 2009.

Fields convinced his brother to take measurements all over his body so he could create the jacket and cape he was wearing with a custom fit.

Fields plans to wear his outfit when he travels to Montreal for the celebration of the launch of the new “Assassin’s Creed” game.

“I’m pleased and proud how this came out,” he said.

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