Alberta Ghostbusters may not be able to help if there’s something strange in your neighbourhood, but fans of the ’80s movies are making their mark in a different way.
They’re gearing up for a weekend of fundraising for the Stollery Children’s Hospital at the Edmonton Expo.
“It’s about the kids,” said Edmonton ghostbuster Mario Giguere.
“When you go to these conventions, there’s a lot of children who come up. We all grew up as Ghostbusters fans as kids.”
Group members decked out in custom costumes — including replica proton packs — solicit donations by selling merchandise and photos.
Fan Expo events represent a significant opportunity to quickly raise large sums, said Dustin Milne, the group’s event planner.
“They’re either a three- or four-day event, so they tend to be kind of the most bang for the buck,” Milne said. “We set up the biggest booth there and get the biggest donations there.”
The original Alberta Ghostbusters group goes back to 2011, when Jordin Johanson was looking for help building a proton pack, and connected with like-minded Albertans online.
“That was kind of the start of the Alberta Ghostbusters,” Johanson said. “It was four of us, we were all building proton packs.”
The group, which now counts 35 members throughout the province, is a registered charity.
Cosplayer Colinne Stroud joined Alberta Ghostbusters specifically to raise money for charity. Flexing her creative muscles is also a perk, she said.
“There’s definitely a lot of satisfaction in creating any kind of prop and then making it your own,” Stroud said. “You see it to fruition and you’re like, ‘Oh, this is amazing. Look at this thing I built.'”
Alberta Ghostbusters chose to support the Stollery, as well as Calgary’s Alberta Children’s Hospital, after some of the members’ own kids, including Stroud’s daughter, received care there.
They’ve raised over $20,000 in the last four years, and are hoping to raise another $15,000 this year alone.
But the Ghostbusters aren’t all business. They’re also having a lot of fun.
“The highlight is always, bar none, having these little kids faces light up and say ‘Ghostbusters!’ and then they run right to you and they’re just so stoked,” Giguere said.
“Everybody is so happy and really that’s what it comes down to. It’s really infectious.”