First of all, a good Proton Pack can take months to make and can cost up to $3000 depending on the build method. Typically cheaper ones took much more time to put together since the parts are hand-made instead of bought. And while they may cost a lot to make, they have an even higher sentimental value to the owners. A Proton Pack is like someone’s 20-30 lb. baby strapped on their back with flashing lights on it. Don’t be surprised if you ask someone to rent their Proton Pack and they get antsy about it. Even if you do hang around expensive equipment all the time and swear you’ll take care of it, wearing and maneuvering around carefully in a Proton Pack is a skill that’s learned from multiple wears. The owner may ask to attend the event with you in order to be your spotter, help holster your gun, and get through crowds and doorways (but at that point, shouldn’t they be the one wearing the pack?)
Unfortunately, wearing a Proton Pack in public tends to be like releasing a bull in a china shop. Some of the smaller parts, like hose connectors or banjos are no longer in production and are very difficult to find, and it’s not uncommon for a piece of a pack to break in some way at an event. Trust me when I say it doesn’t get any less frustrating for the owner (or their wallet). There is also an incredible draw for children or drunks to yank on the ion arm or the tubing on packs and crack off parts because they’re dummies. The official rule of being a Ghostbuster is: "Never go solo". Always have someone to watch your back. There would definitely be some sort of insurance to be paid in addition to the “renting fee” because of the tendency for parts to get broken. Fixing a cracked proton gun barrel is a lot more time/money consuming than repairing a seam or taking out a stain from a cloth costume you could rent from a shop.
I wouldn’t recommend asking about rentals on the forums as your first course of action. The members of the forums are pretty spread out, and frankly, the chances of someone in your area being a regular user on GBFans who ALSO wants to rent out a pack is pretty low. If you want to find someone local to ask about rentals you’d be better off using good ol’ Google or Facebook search to figure out if there’s a franchise in your area. If you do find a local franchise, contact them, but be aware, they’ll more than likely be pretty busy with their own events during the Halloween season. Please be polite and understand what may be going on with them if they sound reluctant to rent out a pack or they demand a high price.
Please be aware, there is a seller by the name of Videobob (Robert Mosely) who does offer Proton Packs for rental, but should be avoided at all costs. More info on why can be found in his feedback thread.
So all in all, your chances of finding someone who wants to rent out their baby will be pretty low. With how much you’d be spending on renting and insuring someone else’s pack you’d be better off making your own from scratch, or even a dollar store pack. There’s always the less impressive bagged costume if you’re really desperate, but I imagine if you saw what that looks like you’ll suddenly be willing to make a little more time for this costume.
And to those who are willing to rent: Please be careful and know that the person renting your pack has not had as much time as you have wearing it and knowing how to get around crowds and handle pictures. Understand what you’re getting into and price accordingly.
I feel like I’m not really listing a lot of the “benefits” of all this. I guess there’s money, making another person happy, and whatnot. But there’s a lot to consider before you hand a Proton Pack off to someone you don’t know.
If anyone has any experience renting out Proton Packs or whatever, please chime in.
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