Making a Ghostbusters Proton Pack and Ecto Goggles

By | February 10, 2012

This post also appears on clattertron.com. Both versions feature minor edits.

A few Halloweens ago, I became inspired to go as a Ghostbuster (from the movie, not that Filmation cartoon).

Final Costume 1And why not? I wanted to be something iconic, especially after the previous year’s ‘steampunk Mr. Belvedere’ costume went over like a clockwork lead balloon.¹

Since there was no way I was going to pay $30-$40 for a cheesy, store-bought Ghostbusters costume with an inflatable Proton Pack, I decided to make my own. Because that made sense, and it was, according to the voices in my head, What Batman Would Do.²

There was a clear divide in my social circle upon my announcing this project: those who thought I was clever and creative, and those who thought I had finally snapped and was stampeding into Don Quixote territory. With the benefit of hind sight, I can say they were both a bit correct.

First, I had to come up with a design. I spent a lot of time reading websites about how to make your own Proton Pack. But, many of the sites focused on creating spot-on replicas of the film version—which required time, money, and materials I didn’t have.

So, like Christmas, birthdays, and Uncle Lou’s hip-replacement surgery, I approached this project as a cheapskate, albeit a motivated one. I visited most of the second-hand shops and couch cushions around town, looking for items or gear I could MacGyverize, and when I had to, I bought something new (usually from discount stores, or clearance bins).

The Pack

I needed a way to carrying this thing on my back, so my first idea was to cut the ‘pack’ part off a backpack.

Making the Proton Pack pt. 11
With help from my parents, I attached a piece of particle board to the remains of the backpack. This gave me a surface to build the guts of the Proton Pack.

Making the Proton Pack pt. 10
A plastic-plant-saucer became the familiar circular ‘bottom’ of the pack. The rest of the pack I filled up with an old PC power supply, and spray-painted plastic containers.

Making the Proton Pack pt. 8
I also found a light up spinning toy, which I attached via a dashboard gadget for an MP3 player.

Proton Pack Parts - Power Cell
Thankfully, you can lock it in the ‘On’ position.
Making the Proton Pack pt. 15

I created a padding-thing to help keep the spinner in place (although I ended up just taping it in later).

A co-worker gave me a set of blinking LEDs left over from a LEGO set, which I used to light up the bottom, and the middle.

Proton Pack Bottom Light Test

Bottom lights.

Making the Proton Pack pt. 16

The guts of the ‘bottom’ lights.

In the movie version of the Pack, there is a ‘bumper’ over the bottom part. I made my own using parts of old wrist guards and tubing.

Making the Proton Pack pt. 20
I hot-glued on extra computer bits, and parts of other toys to fill up the back. I even threw on a pedometer, which still worked.

Final Proton Pack 2
The Gun

I wanted the gun to light up, so a cheap flashlight was on my list (it doubled as a handle, too). I cut up a water-jug, and attached part of a turkey baster to finish the look.

Making the Proton Gun pt. 6

Most of this project was held together by electrical tape or Gorilla Tape. Or both.

Making the Proton Gun pt. 14

Finished proton gun.

One of the extra pipe pieces from the goggles (see blow), make a perfect ‘muzzle.’ I cut the handle off a plastic baseball bat to be the front ‘grip.’

Making the Proton Gun pt. 15
The Goggles

For the goggles Ray wears, I found instructions online (there are many).

Making Ecto Goggles pt. 5

“The goggles, they do nothing,” as the saying goes.

Making Ecto Goggles pt. 12
Basically, you glue tubes and pipe fittings to a pair of welding goggles. There are many ways to go about this, and I ended up not following the directions to the letter (I kept the flip up part on), but it was very helpful.

Making Ecto Goggles pt. 8
The Rest

Final Proton Pack 1
I attached the gun to the pack with a length of aquarium-filter tubing and the jumpsuit was just a flight suit I ordered through a military surplus website (here is a similar flight suit on Amazon, get the Khaki kind). I found a logo patch on eBay, and a friend stitched a name tag for me. Rounding out the rest of the outfit was a pair of black rubber gloves and battery-powered speakers attached to my iPod (which allowed me to play the Ghostbusters theme wherever I went).

While the whole process was long, the end result was worth the late nights and strange looks from my friends and family.

Besides, it meant I could recreate one of the greatest scenes in cinematic history:

Don’t try this at home. In fact, never try anything on this blog at home.

You can see (too) many more photos over on Flickr.

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¹ Which is the same as a regular Mr. Belvedere costume, with the addition of brass goggles and a top hat.

² Bruce Wayne, however, would have just bought the movie studio and used the original film props and costume.

Daniel J. Hogan isn’t above cross posting content on his various websites. Follow him on Twitter, @danieljhogan. Follow Clattertron on Facebook too.

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