Shane Bird Baker dresses up for superhero fun and more

Some people are good at singing, dancing, or acting, while others may be good at writing or drawing.

For Shane Bird Baker, 44, his talent is “goofy…showing up and acting stupid. I do it really well, apparently,” Baker said with a big smile.

Just a few weeks ago, Baker joined the Destin Recreation Department at the Destin Community Center to wish young and old a Merry Christmas at Christmas Drive. Dressed in his “Buddy the Elf” costume, the 6ft 4in baker greeted passing people with a huge smile and big waves.

The Monday before Christmas, Shane Bird Baker came to work at Home Depot in Destin as a "Cousin Eddy" from the movie Christmas Vacation, with the white moccasins.

“I smiled so much my face hurts,” Baker said. “But it’s worth watching the videos and seeing the kids.”

However, dressing up as a curly-haired elf is just one of many characters Baker has dressed up over the years.

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“Since I was a kid, I’ve loved to dress up,” said Baker, who works in merchandising at Home Depot in Destin. “My mom made me do this when I was little.”

Baker wanted to be an actor or a model when he was little.

“They played in it and screwed it up,” he said of his parents.

Shane Bird Baker says Captain America is one of his favorite characters.

He said that as a child, his father always went to balls and dressed in a tuxedo. “They would make me a small one so I would be a miniature version of him.”

Dressing up “was fun and something easy to do,” Baker said.

Some of the first things he dressed up as cowboys — because his dad liked old westerns — and Batman.

Shane Bird Baker was Buddy the Elf at the Destin Christmas Drive-thru event at the Destin Community Center over the holidays.

“And you can be anything you want to be when you’re dressed. You can be clumsy acting… like in a movie,” he said.

Baker explained that he had a problem with social anxiety since he was a child. Later he started drinking to adjust to this.

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But when he quit, dressing up and playing different characters was a way to have fun and make others smile.

Tami Scott, who recently passed away, was a great encouragement to Baker. She would organize events in Kel-Aire for children and asked Baker if he would come dressed as a superhero.

He always dressed up as something scary on Halloween to terrorize kids into having fun. But last year, Scott wanted him to come dressed as Black Panther.

“For a guy my size, it’s hard to be that skinny. It took me almost a year to get down to getting into spandex,” Baker said with a laugh.

He had to lose 45 pounds to fit into the Black Panther costume.

His mother, Ondella, who adjusts and alters all of his costumes to fit, hassled him trying to fit into Black Panther’s size.

Since a young age, Shane Bird Baker has loved dressing up.

“She was joking with me… ‘Hey, you need to do a few more sit-ups,’ as she sits there eating a bowl of ice cream,” Baker said.

Nevertheless, “Every time I wanted to do something, she made it possible. She was going out of her way to help me find stuff,” he added.

COSTUMES AND CHARACTERS

Baker has bins full of costumes for different characters.

In addition to his Buddy the Elf costume, Baker had several other outfits he wore while working at Home Depot during the holidays.

The Monday before Christmas, he came dressed as Cousin Eddie from the movie “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”

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He wore the tight pants, crazy hat, white belt, and white shoes (which he found at a flea market) for at least six hours.

“Oh, that was awesome,” he said, until he lost the heel of one of the shoes.

“It’s like Cinderella…I lost my slipper,” he said, noting that the heel flew off like a hockey puck on the store’s concrete floor.

“It’s hard to stay in costume when you’re working. So we have to make it functional, that’s the problem. Anyone can look good, but it’s hard to do for a long time,” he said.

Destiny's Shane Bird Baker has tattoos on his arm that depict several of his characters.

Later that week, he dressed as a Hip-Hop Santa in a red velvet jumpsuit.

“We’ve been wearing T-shirts and all kinds of crazy stuff all week,” he said.

“It’s just another day for fun. You are stuck at work; you might as well have a good time,” he said, noting that he had told all of his associates that they could wear Christmas clothes during the holiday season.

Baker has pirate costumes, which her mother picked up items from estate sales and the like. “She will adapt.”

He also has a Joker outfit from the Batman movie, thanks to a preacher he met.

“He had a big, long purple suit, so I made it a Joker outfit,” Baker said. “It was huge, but it worked.”

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“It’s a process…you just accumulate things over time,” he said.

Her favorite characters to dress up as Super Heroes.

“Watching little kids see you when you’re big like me, they see you like it’s real,” he said.

“That’s what drove me…I wanted to be something larger than life.”

His favorite character is Captain America, closely followed by Batman.

Shane Bird Baker dressed as Black Panther for Halloween.

“I know Batman is great and all, but Captain America is really all good. …He represents America and freedom. People can relate to that. People don’t like to be oppressed,” he said .

And his costumes look like the real deal.

“I like making them look real,” he said, noting that he spent the extra money to buy the Marvel-licensed shield for Captain America.

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The most Baker has ever spent on a costume is $800 for Batman.

He said he bought a licensed outfit and modified it. It was such that when a child pushed it, it hit muscles and not fake pads.

“That’s another reason to keep training. It allows me to train. You can’t be a flabby Batman,” he laughed.

Batman is his second favorite hero to dress up, after Captain America.

Baker recalled a time when he was at the grocery store wearing his Batman training gear and a youngster dropped his pacifier.

Baker said he bent down and picked it up and the child was brought back.

“Oh no, I didn’t mean to scare your child,” he said.

The parent replied, “He thought you were Batman. … You are his favorite character.

It’s memories like that that are worth it.

“It’s worth a try…and it’s helped me stay sober. I’ve been an alcoholic for so long, but it keeps you going. Keeps me in line, makes you check yourself out,” he said.

Other characters Baker would like to try out in the future are the new Batman, Predator, and Mandalorian. He also mentioned Chewbacca from Star Wars.

“I’m tall…I could do that easily,” he said, making the crazed Chewbacca growl.

WORK AND PLAY

The Home Depot is the perfect job for Baker.

“So we get to be like little kids here. I can pull out all the Christmas and Halloween stuff, which is my favorite. I can play with all the toys before Black Friday. It’s funny. It’s like working with a big editing set that you can play with… I can move all the material. It’s every grown man’s dream. I play with tools all the time,” he said.

Baker moved to Destin in 2013 from Mississippi to follow a girl and do rehabilitation on her back. The girl did not work, but he had her back rehabilitated.

Shane Bird Baker is all about having fun at work.

He got a job at UPS before starting at Home Depot.

“I started getting interested in their community activities and events,” he said, such as veterans events, Crop Drop and other community activities.

“Whenever they need someone to be goofy or dress up or do something…it’s me.

What does Baker do for fun when he’s not working?

He trains a lot, rides a motorcycle and loves cinema. He said he just went to see the new Spider-Man movie.

“I like to follow the rhythm. I love all Marvel movies,” he said.

Superman and Batman were two of his favorites as a kid.

Shane Bird Baker, dressed in his red Santa jumpsuit, was among The Home Depot associates in Destin who dressed up for the holiday.

What does he expect to be when he grows up?

“Who said I was ever gonna grow up? I’ll always be a Toys R Us kid. You gotta keep going.”