Ghostbusters Cereal: At A Premium

GHOSTBUSTERS™ cereal was already pretty awesome. You already loved Ghostbusters, you loved cereal, how could the experience be any better? Two words that went hand in hand with children’s breakfast cereals, Free Stuff. More known by its less fun name, premium. When it comes to cereal and getting stuff their were different ways kids went about it.

  • Its free (once parental unit bought your cereal) when cereal companies put the premium inside the box. If it was a bigger item, it may have been plastic wrapped to the box. As long as a “bad kid” didn’t steal it at a grocery store.
  • Sometimes what the cereal company gave you is part of the cardboard box and you may need adult supervision to cut it/them out. Which was more then fine because we couldn’t imagine Ghostbusters cereal would ever be discontinued. We didn’t even know that word until the future.
  • Sending your lunch money, multiple PoP, (proof of purchase) and maybe mailing supplies.
  • A premium could have been the “get all your hopes up” and “make your dreams come true” by entering the Official Sweepstakes.

The Real Ghostbusters Cereal Glow In The Dark Door Hanger

This The Real Ghostbusters cereal premium let you know when you were at a grocery store two things: Slimer will upstage the “no ghost” logo whenever he has the chance. More importantly, Ralston lead kids to believe they both needed and wanted a one sided door hanger made out of cardboard. At least it glows in the dark. By way of solar energy! Wow, the cereal industry was ahead of its time.

We gave it little or no thought, (because “why worry?”) how did Ralston make just that one part of the box glow? Was it safe? Was their a hotline our parents could call? I don’t remember or can attest to in front of a jury of my peers how well a box size image of Slimer glowed. I haven’t tried to test a nearly three decade year old cereal box.

Hey Ralston! I’m onto you in my 30s. “Slime zone” with an exclamation point is adult code where the end result is kids cleaning their bedrooms. No wonder this cereal went away. As a kinda consolation, Ralston provided a one sided cardboard “Back Off! I’m A Ghostbuster” badge. To you, this “flip open” I.D badge was important, adults would only play along while you pretended for so long. You knew it was cool and kept it within easy reach by your The Real Ghostbusters stuff.

Ralston loved their classified glow in the dark formula when it came to Ghostbusters cereal. It would extend to a Ghostbusters cereal box that had a “no ghost” logo that glowed with 4 The Real Ghostbusters trading cards on the box, that because they could, would also glow in the dark. For those important 9 PM trading card markets.

I seem to remember the glow in the dark Frisbee, er “flyer” premium. I don’t think I’ve ever owned it, maybe it was that “bad kid” again.

Ghostbusters Cereal Be A GHØSTBUSTER


If I didn’t remember owning a large piece of glow in the dark plastic, I really don’t remember an offer from Ralston and Ghostbusters Incorporated to “be a Ghostbuster.” I’ve had the worse luck since 1984 missing the official Ghostbusters Fan Club and a chance as a kid to become a Ghostbuster via breakfast cereal.

From the “free inside” premium we know which food industry (Ecto-Containment link) had more influence. What else could explain the misplaced priorities for one, yes one piece of Bazooka gum. Yeah you might get Grape Flavor. The odds were one in 13,983,816. That’s an exact figure. Even if kids weren’t being offered a start in a dangerous career, a piece of sugary gum was more then enough reason for kids to need this Ghostbusters cereal. Your parents healthy cereal would never give away free gum.

As an aside because I had the access and I could afford five pieces of Bazooka gum at 5¢ each, I’d buy flavored Bazooka gum at Pat’s (which was by School #10) all the time. School #10 was also famous to me because across the street was an historic hospital that had a height and roof area that resembled Dana’s apartment building from Ghostbusters.™

Unlike sending away for a The Real Ghostbusters video cassette or a holographic t-shirt, becoming a Ghostbuster was affordable. If your parents asked you questions you could have told them ‘Look at all the stuff you get in the Ghostbuster kit! And it doesn’t cost a lot.’ Only if you knew the word economical in 1987. For 1 PoP and $1.50 USD trusted adults (we hope) sent you:

  1. 11″ x 14″ “Back Off Man! I’m a Ghostbuster” poster.
  2. Glow-in-the-Dark Door Sign Sticker.
  3. Glow-in-the-Dark light switch cover.
  4. 2 sheets of Ghostbusters stickers.
  5. Ghostbusters button.
  6. An Official Ghostbusters Membership Certificate.

Anyone reading own a Ghostbusters cereal Ghostbuster kit?

Win a $20,000 USD College Scholarship

Perhaps their was a reason the Ghostbuster kit came before the chance to win $20,000 USD worth of college education. Maybe in the late 1980s twenty big ones could get a high school graduate through a good 4 year school. Problem is, you’re under 12 and won’t graduate until the future year of 1996. Did the money become a better investment?

How did this work?

Slimer! and The Real Ghostbusters “brand” of Ghostbusters cereal came with “the hot crayon colors.” You would color the back of the box with those crayons (would your entry become null and void if you used Prang? When the fun was over, it was time to get serious with a short paragraph telling adults who don’t know you “what you want to be when you graduate college.” Kids had a 1 and 3 chance of being randomly selected as Ralston actually gave away not one, but 3 college scholarships as part of their “Color A Bright Future” College Scholarship.

I feel like I entered, I only have a vague memory of either doing this or hearing anything from the scholarship deciders.

Anyone reading enter? And better yet, actually win a $20,000 USD college scholarship in the early 1990s?

Ralston LOVED filling kids minds with the promise of college scholarships, winning jewelry, sports car, and Kenner The Real Ghostbusters toys. Licensing must have been very good or they had partners with deep pockets. Seriously, a Real (see what they did their?) diamond worth 4 grand. I’d really like to know more about that sweepstakes. I can imagine as an adult the odds were really small for kids to have a chance to win a single diamond worth more then your entire net worth. That’s presuming you had net worth at 9 years old. As a consolation for knowing you weren’t going to win a diamond, this The Real Ghostbusters cereal included a ‘Diamond Dazzle Scope!’ Which was probably a kind of kaleidoscope.

If it wasn’t for the second The Real Ghostbusters cereal box, who would believe me that Ralston also gave..well had kids enter for a chance to win a car. Not any car, a Porsche! It was the ’80s, money was just being thrown into the wind. I really really want to know about that sweepstakes. I find it hard to believe Ralston actually gave away 1 Porsche 944 or 911, even if it was red. While I have no memory of the diamond, I can remember the Porsche sweepstakes. It was promoted across Ralston’s cereal brands.

Doubtful if anyone reading won either of these, I’d be interested in hearing about the experiences.


Depending on your age by 1991 you probably owned most, if not all of Kenner The Real Ghostbusters toys. If you were pretty young during The Real Ghostbusters and Slimer! and The Real Ghostbusters appealed to you more (it’s ok, you don’t have to admit it as an adult) you and 49 other kids had a chance to “win 15 fabulous The Real Ghostbusters toys from Kenner!” Whooo!

I might have been a little older then the kid on the box who has to fake that he is a big winner with those mostly later The Real Ghostbusters toys. So I’m pretty sure I didn’t enter, it’s pretty cool (even if it was in the later years) Kenner got on board to give away The Real Ghostbusters toys. Here’s what kids could hope to win:

  1. 5 Slimed Heroes action figures.
  2. 3 Gobblin Gobbins.
  3. “Classic” ECTO-1A.
  4. ECTO-Bomber.
  5. Firehouse HQ.
  6. 2 cans of Ecto-Plazm gel.
  7. Ecto-Charger Pack.
  8. Ecto-Blaster.

Whether you entered or actually won 15 Kenner The Real Ghostbusters toys because it could be related Ralston’s creative had a cardboard cutout “slime” light switch cover. Since even they put slime in quotation marks, the gimmick of glowing cardboard must have been so played yo.

It wasn’t originally planned this way, for length and time their will be one more Ghostbusters cereal premium/sweepstakes blog post. If you were a kid in the late ’80s I know it meant more to you then a college scholarship, a diamond, a Porsche, and yes even 15 Kenner RGBs toys.

The Real Ghostbusters Glow In The Dark Cereal Box Commercial

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