How to Upgrade a Spirit Halloween Ghostbusters Proton Pack

For Halloween this year I am dressing as a Ghostbuster. The khaki flight suit, the grey elbow pads, the belt with fobs, gadgets, and gizmos, black gloves, etc. are all part of the uniform. But what really makes a Ghostbuster a Ghostbuster is the Proton Pack. Now, I didn’t have $800 to $1,000 to spend on a full-size proton pack kit, so what were my options? Spirit Halloween released an 80%ish scale version of a Proton Pack this year. The shape and detail are actually pretty good considering it is an inexpensive ($70ish) toy version of the “real” thing.

Spirit Halloween Proton Pack right out of the box.
Spirit Halloween Proton Pack right out of the box.

With a little more money and a little bit of time the Spirit Halloween Proton Pack can be made to pass as a convincing proton pack. Here is what I did to mine:

First, I updated the lighting in the pack to have the correct rotating red lights on the cyclotron and the chasing blue lights on the power cell. I added red lighting gels and a GBfans.com lighting kit. I soldered the new lighting into the existing battery pack and left the original lights and sound effects in place.

GBfans.com lighting kit.
GBfans.com lighting kit.

Second, I removed the old decals with the heat from a hair dryer and masked off anything that should not be painted black. I cut a MDF motherboard for the backpack to attach to and to add some weight to the pack (it is very light). I hot glued some wood blocks inside the pack for the motherboard to be screwed to. I even added a Dixie cup holder V-hook to replace the cylinder knob to attach the wand to the pack. I used hot glue to add weld patterns to several areas to make it look like the originals.

Motherboard and masking tape.
Motherboard and masking tape.

Motherboard, wood blocks inside, and masking tape.
Motherboard, wood blocks inside, and masking tape.

Next, I painted everything with a Matte Black spray paint. I wasn’t too careful and there are some drips, but this is a Halloween prop, so it didn’t need to be perfect. In hindsight I would have waited to install the lighting effects until after painting it.

I see gray plastic and I want to paint it black.
I see gray plastic and I want to Paint It Black.

I then removed all of the masking tape and attached an Alice pack frame to the motherboard using black zip ties.

Alice pack frame.
Alice pack frame.
Remove masking tape.
Remove masking tape.

My Spirit Halloween Ghostbuster Proton Pack was now ready to add the finishing touches. I bought an upgrade kit from a member of GBfans.com on eBay for most of the cosmetic upgrades. The yellow tubing for the ion arm, the brass ion arm, the 80% scale cyclotron ribbon cable and cable clamp, various screws, the red and green tubing for the thrower wand, the white circles for the N-filter, and the black split loom over the green cable. All of these parts can be purchased separately, but it was convenient to buy them all from one source. This is what the upgrades look like installed without any other modifications.

Proton Pack Cosmetic Upgrade Kit
Proton Pack Cosmetic Upgrade Kit

The last step was painting the pack to look weathered and used and to apply the decals. I went with a heavily weathered look because the form of the Spirit Halloween Proton Pack was so sharp and rigid. I used Testors model paint: silver, gold, black, orange, and red, for weathering and for the buttons and lights.

I then applied all of the new decals including many that were not included on the Spirit Halloween Proton Pack originally. It took several hours to cut out and apply the decals. The decals can be downloaded from the GBfans.com website. I printed mine at between 80% and 83% of the original size. I added black paint to weather and dirty up the decals.

I wrapped the hand grips on the thrower with black electrical tape. I added a piece of gray foam pipe insulation with black zip ties to the Alice frame.

My finished prop.
My finished prop.

I couldn’t be more happy with how this turned out. I had planned on using a small iPod Touch Nano and a Bluetooth speaker attached to the motherboard to add all of the correct sounds, but ran out of time. Maybe in the future I will add those.

PS A friend of mine 3D printed a LifeGard II prop for me to wear on my belt.

Fixing and Improving our Halloween Graveyard Fence

One of the problems that I needed to find a solution to with our graveyard fence was that the 2’x2′ plywood bases caused the lawn underneath to die each year. I petitioned my friends in the Rocky Mountain Haunters group for help in solving this problem. Their answers ranged from fertilizing before setting them up or after I take them down, to moving them around every few days to keep them from damaging the grass underneath. The best solution was to use PVC pipe underneath the columns to keep them an inch or so off the ground, so the only damage would be small lines in the grass instead of a 2 foot by 2 foot square. I removed the plywood bases and screwed 1 inch PVC pipe on the bottoms. It works great!

Strong winds blew down our Halloween graveyard fence on October 20th and caused damage to the fence columns, finials, and busted the second skeleton sentinel for the second year in a row. I knew that I needed to find a solution to keep them upright in the strong winds we get here in Spanish Fork. The bottoms of my columns are solid wood. Again, my friends in the Rocky Mountain Haunters group helped solve this problem. I cut a square out of the solid block of wood on the bottom and drove T-posts into the ground through the center of each column. The fence is now secure from the winds.