Feeding an Obsession

Young children will often become fixated on new ideas, some pass quickly, others linger for years.  I’m currently watching Little Guy as he goes through this and had an opportunity to feed one of his obsessions.

It started with vehicles, then dinosaurs, music and then late last winter or early spring it became monsters –  specifically monsters related to Halloween.  He’s never tired of his monsters and so this Christmas his mother gifted him with the original Ghostbuster movie starring Dan Ackroyd and Bill Murray.  The movie has become his latest fixation.

Last week when he was visiting he went upstairs to the girls’ room and brought down a clothes hanger which he put on his arm and tried to pretend it was a proton pack.

He was so happy with himself that he wouldn’t go home without that hanger. I off-handedly mentioned he needed an actual proton pack. That one comment started the gears moving and soon I’d devised a pack from items I had in the house. You know I’m not leaving the house with sub zero-temps, right?

Here’s what I came up with.

I started with a box my son mailed a Christmas/birthday gift to me in. I needed straps and found bias tape I bought eight years ago and had just been sitting in my sewing box.

I simply used a box cutter to slit an opening to slide the bias tape through then knotted it so it wouldn’t pull through. Next, I needed a “hose” to hold the “gun” to shoot the ghosts.  I didn’t have enough bias tape but I do have a roll of thick ribbon I use to hang the Christmas ornaments I make the children each year.  Again I punched a hole in the side of the box and slid the ribbon through, knotting it a few times to prevent it from pulling out.

I searched through the toy box and came up with a vacuum attachment (a brush) my oldest grandson had played with for several years and tied the end of the ribbon to this.

This is the cover of the Ghostbusters movie I wanted to incorporate into the proton pack.

I’m not what one would call a talented artist but I thought my limited skills could sketch this.  Using plain construction paper and colored pencils this is what I came up with.

I trimmed the excess paper off and since I couldn’t find any glue I used some packing tape I had from shipping Christmas gifts to affix this to the back of the proton pack.

I wasn’t done.  The box was a bit plain. I have a book here Little Guy loves and wanted to incorporated a few images from the artwork in it.

Specifically, I wanted to incorporate this guy’s pack into the one I was making.

I added images from this boys pack on the sides of the one I was making.

I had thought about adding an empty toilet paper roll to the one side to act as a harness for the “ghost gun” but decided to use the ghost image instead.

Tonight this is sitting on the table waiting for the roads to clear so Little Guy can visit. Should his obsession with Ghostbusters end soon everything here can be repurposed or recycled with the exception of the tape.  We can remove the tape and recycle the box, I’ll take the bias tape and ribbon back for another craft and the vacuum attachment can go back in the toy box.

The last piece needed is a set of headphones which Little Guy has at home.  I know this will be a hit but even better is that with a zero cost there’s no reason to be disappointed should it not get a lot of use.

If you have a ghost-obsessed child feel free to build on my concept or check out Pinterest for more elaborate plans.



  1. WOW. Love it. Pretty sure he will too. I suspect (and love the idea), that he will pick up a marker, and add his own “touches” to it. Or, maybe someday he will get some stickers to add. Kids love to personalise their “things’/”Tools” etc.. And, no one will be getting twisted if he takes a marker (etc) to it, like might happen if it was a hundred dollar toy.

    Hope you are able to snap a photo with it/him, to show us the ghostbuster at work, grin.


    • You are right, Anon, he will definitely want to personalize his proton pack. He has taken to crafts lately so I left plenty of blank space for him to do what he wants with it. I will try to get a photo of him when he first sees it, or playing with it.


  2. You are such a wonderful grandmother. I am learning so much from you. My grand daughter will be born in February. I am very excited to ‘grow’ with her and expand on her imagination as you are doing with your grand children.


    • Elaine, you are going to love being a grandmother. You get all the joys and none of the big decisions on raising them. 🙂 I fear I would be a wreck trying to raise children today.


      • Totally with you there, Lois…!
        What a greatfun toy you’ve made, he’ll be thrilled 👍

        ps my embroidery is set up, I now have to find the pattern and the threads (I know where they SHOULD be lol!)… 😉


        • I have one cross stitch that is nearly completed but I ran out of a color and set it aside. I now have the thread but can’t find the pattern. I know where I thought I put it, just hoping it didn’t end up in the recycle bin.


  3. Ha! At Thanksgiving I made some joke about “crossing the streams” and my dad gave me a blank stare – at which point I realized he’d never seen the movie. I decided this was a piece of culture that everyone should know, so I got him the DVD for Christmas. He was puzzled by the movie, but decided that it was actually much healthier for boys to express their need for violence and guns by killing imaginary monsters, than movies which depict people shooting other people – that was his psychological analysis anyhow.

    I’m sure you grandson will LOVE his proton pack.


    • I thought everyone over the age of 30, and some under, had seen the movie. Your dad is a trip! Did he end up enjoying the movie?

      Your dad might have a point but I’ve never been into guns so I will refrain from trying to form an opinion. 🙂


    • I did have fun both making and planning the proton pack but I doubt it will be close to how much fun Little Guy has playing with it when his imagination takes over.


  4. Genius!!!! He will really love this. Kids would rather play with an empty box than and expensive toy anyway. You are quite good at making something from nothing. 🙂 Looking forward to the reaction. 😉 Hugs.


    • Hi Sondra! I’ve seen some amazing Halloween costumes from Recycled materials too. Each Halloween I hand out candy at my son’s home so he can join his wife with the children, I look forward to seeing the different costumes but it’s the homemade using what’s available that I like the best.


  5. Love this idea! Like you, I prefer costumes made with what’s at hand, probably because that’s what we had. My boys loved Ghostbusters, too, but were older when it came out. You are already a Great Grandma, you know! lol Glad to hear it’s warming up out there; looking forward to the photos of your little Ghostbuster! Big hugs, Lois! ~ Linne


    • Hi Linne, Little Guy loved his proton pack and I just have to upload a photo to share. It was difficult to get a good one because we couldn’t get him to hold still. 🙂 I learned early on as a new mother the joys a cardboard box holds for little ones. My grandfather outdid me with boxes when he bought a new fridge and made the delivery guys carefully remove the box intact which he then saved for my sons. They played with it for months, first in the basement then later buried it in the snow to make an igloo. The boys hadn’t thought about what melting snow would do to cardboard but grandpa simply asked if they had fun and that’s all that mattered.

      There are few movies that will stand the test of time, I’m glad to see Ghostbusters, which is rather clean and therefore not an issue to show children is one of them.


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