Over the years the LEGO Group have released a large array of different ghosts, ghouls and other spooky themed minifigures. This Halloween, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the different versions of the basic ghost that is typically depicted in cartoons as a white sheet with eyes and a mouth.
The first white sheet style of ghost to be released as a LEGO minifigure made it's initial appearance in 1990 as part of the Castle theme. Included in two sets; 6034 Black Monarch's Ghost and 6081 King's Mountain Fortress, the ghost consisted of a standard plain white minifig torso and plain black minifig head on top of a white 1 x 2 plate and 1 x 2 brick. Over this was a glow in the dark shroud with holes for eyes and a smiling mouth.
A further three sets including this ghost were released in 1992, followed by another two sets in 1993. The eighth and final set for this particular version of the ghost minifigure was released in 1995.
The LEGO ghost made a return in 1997 as part of the Time Cruisers theme, this time with plain white minifigure legs replacing the 1 x 2 plate and brick beneath the shroud. Due to the shape of the shroud, the movement of the legs is extremely restricted however.
The years 2000 and 2001 saw the final releases of this particular version of the ghost minifigure as part of a small analogue clock that featured studs on top so you could decorate it with whatever LEGO bricks you liked.
After another period of no LEGO ghosts, 2006 saw it's return in a single set; 10176 Royal King's Castle. This time however, the shroud part was no longer in the opaque glow in the dark colour but a more transparent glow in the dark plastic. The strangest part of the 2006 version of the ghost though, is that the minifig's hands were yellow instead of white which gives more of an impression of someone dressed as a ghost rather than being an actual ghost.
It would be another six years before the next LEGO ghost minifigure would be available, with three variations appearing in a total of four sets. The shroud of this iteration was a similar style to the previous ghosts, but the smile was replaced with a more mournful expression. The rounded shape to the top of the head was also changed to include a more pointed shape at the back.
The variations between the three ghosts released in 2012 were in how the legs were replicated. Two versions mimicked the ghosts of the 1990s releases, with one featuring standard minifigure legs and another making use of the 1 x 2 plate and brick combination. The third version replaced the 1 x 2 plate with a round 1 x 1 plate and a ball and chain.
The Scooby Doo theme saw another release of the ghost in 2015 as part of the Mystery Mansion set. This time the plain black head was replaced by a printed head so that the villain could be unmasked by Scooby and the gang as in the cartoon.
This was the last version of a LEGO ghost that featured the moulded glow in the dark shroud except for one final variation in another set from 2015. This saw a return to the original design of shroud but with a small difference (spoiler alert). A headband was added to the ghost shroud mould to replicate the appearance of Vitruvius in The LEGO Movie after he appears in ghost form. There's also the addition of a cloth cape and a printed 1 x 2 x 2 brick for the legs.
That was the last time the shroud parts were produced to give the impression of the cartoon sheet style ghosts and also the last of the glow in the dark ghosts. In 2020, the Haunted House set 10273 included a number of references to past LEGO sets, but the included ghosts didn't use the shroud part despite their similar look. Instead, the plain white parts were topped off with a white hood and the legs made use of a skirt piece that was first produced in 2018. With the use of a minifigure hood, the head was white with the eyes and mouth printed on. This is a dual sided head though, with a smiling face on one side and a more mournful expression on the other.
There is one more ghost with a sheet like style that has been produced by The LEGO Group. This is Spencer from the Hidden Side theme, which was first released in 2019. The single piece moulding of a ghost dog utilised a dual colour moulding process in white and clear plastic with eyes and a nose printed on. A total of twelve sets have included Spencer in the two years since release, including as part of a free foil pack with certain issues of the LEGO Hidden Side Magazine.
Apart from the ghost dog and the ghosts in the 2020 released Haunted House set, LEGO ghosts now mostly make use of standard minifigure parts from the torso upwards with appropriate printing for different ghostly characters. The legs have now been replaced with a dual colour moulding that was introduced in 2015 that gives a floating ethereal effect. This does allow a lot more variety and a less cartoony look to any minifigure ghosts. The one closest in style to the focus of this article using the newer parts was the Spectre from the Series 14 Collectable Minifigures released in 2015.
As a bonus for the collectors, there also exists a red version of the original LEGO ghost shroud. From what I have read elsewhere online, these kinds of parts were only produced in red plastic as test mouldings and were never meant to be released out of the factory.
We hope you've enjoyed looking back at some of the LEGO ghosts that have been produced over the years. I certainly found it interesting during the brief research on the subject, discovering information I hadn't known before. Thanks to all the GertLUG members who were able to provide photos of items I didn't already have in my collection to go with this article.