This post also appears on clattertron.com. Both versions feature minor edits.
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).
I needed a way to carrying this thing on my back, so my first idea was to cut the ‘pack’ part off a backpack.
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.
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.
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.
Most of this project was held together by electrical tape or Gorilla Tape. Or both.
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.’
For the goggles Ray wears, I found instructions online (there are many).
“The goggles, they do nothing,” as the saying goes.
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:
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 is a geeky cartoonist and writer living in Michigan. Daniel is available for freelance writing and cartooning commissions (Contact Daniel). This post contains affiliate links, unless it doesn't.