Looking for some Ghosts to Bust!

Since I was a kid, I loved movies and I loved monsters and fantasy and science fiction. I loved how they looked and how they made me feel, whether it was scary or funny or exhilarating, it made me feel something that I couldn’t find easily in my life.

One of the movies that certainly did all of that was Ghostbusters. It was funny, but not really scary. Exciting, but in a fun way. And I didn’t want to be Bill Murray’s Peter Venkman or Dan Akroyd’s Ray Stantz. I identified with the brain, the nerd, Harold Ramis’ Dr. Egon Spengler. That guy was cool.

Since I was a kid, I’ve made costumes for Halloween, usually on my own. My favorite was a pair of arms that I made that hung from my neck with fishing line, holding open my pillowcase to hold candy. And when I would be at a front door and the owner was handing out candy, I’d reach out with my real arms and hold the pillowcase open the other way, so I had four arms. In my memory, it was a flawless costume and everyone was fooled. Probably not an accurate memory, but a good one nonetheless.

I didn’t have much need to build costumes as an adult. There was one Halloween party I went to with Christina where I was Frankenstein, wearing a pair of shoes I’d crafted 4″ wooden risers to so I was an immense 6’6″+. That was pretty great.

I’ve wished I’d built a really nice costume. Maybe for a party, maybe to go to a convention. But something I built and something that looked good!

Eventually, I decided that I would build a Ghostbusters costume. It was classic, it resonated with me, it didn’t seem that hard and I thought I might get some use out of it.

I think that was about three years ago. BUT! I have finally completed my Ghostbusters costume, as you can see in the initial picture at the top of the page.

There was one main article that was my starting point called “Make This Screen Accurate Ghostbusters Costume with 80% Available from Amazon Prime“. It’s very good and is a great outline for the basic costume.

The other thing it rightly points out is that Spirit Halloween has three pretty good replicas of the main pieces of GB hardware: the Proton Pack, the PKE meter and a Ghost Trap.

So, there was some shopping around the Halloween holiday, much of it in 2019, I think. Because of the proximity to the holiday (I got started late!) I didn’t really make much progress that year, but I got a lot of the supplies. I have no recollection of 2020, but since Halloween was canceled on account of the pandemic, I’m guessing it wasn’t a priority.

In addition to the above article, I ran across some videos on the Punished Props Academy channel on YouTube. On that page, Bill Doran does a great job of teaching how to create props and costumes and he covered how to weather the Proton Pack, PKE meter and Ghost Trap from Spirit Halloween.

These videos were great and a big part of helping me end up with a costume that, I think, looked better than the average costume. This, by the way, is the costume from Target. Note: The proton pack on the right is inflatable…

The fourth piece of hardware are the EctoGoggles. These help you spot those ghosts. Spirit Halloween does have a version, but I wanted to build something a little better. For this, I ended up printing a really nice starting point from Thingiverse here.

And here are my finished Ecto Goggles:

This was an interesting project because it included creating the straps that would hold the goggles on my head. That required nylon straps and a leather piece that held it all together. I have long planned to learn how to sew, but never got around to it. Till now!

Here were my first two attempts. The top one was me just being surprised that I got the thing to make any kind of stitch. The next was my attempt doing a box with an ‘x’ in the middle. Not bad. Till I turned it over. Okay, I don’t have this figured out yet…

About 20 minutes of practice and learning how to reverse it (didn’t know that was a thing) and I got something a little more recognizable.

Finally, I tested it on a piece of test leather to see how that would go and I was pleasantly surprised with the results!

Well, now that I was basically a professional, it was time to sew the real thing! And so/sew I did!

The last step was to do a ton of weathering and distressing to all the hardware so it didn’t look quite so much like a toy I purchased from Spirit Halloween. By largely following the guidance from Punished Props Academy, I ended up with something I was pretty happy with.

So, after many years and a few false starts, I finally ended up with a costume that I’d be happy to wear to a party (you know, if there were parties and I liked going to them) or to a con (uh, same).


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