Chico State University Mascot Giving High Five

Choosing a Mascot Performer

Once you have a mascot costume, your next step is to choose a mascot performer. Most mascot costumes do not follow a, “One size fits all” approach when it comes to fitting. Oftentimes these mascot costumes are designed to fit a certain size range of human being. This is something to consider when looking for mascot performers. 

Another thing to consider is the personality and characteristics you want to bring to your mascot. Is the mascot meant to be fun and joyful? Or serious and competitive? These are the sorts of personality traits to be on the lookout for when it comes to a mascot performer. You want to be sure they understand your vision and can translate that into their actions as a mascot.

There is a lot to consider when picking someone to act as your mascot. Essentially, when they put that mascot costume on, they are a representing your brand. In order to help you simplify your search, we’ve put together some helpful tips to get you on the right track.

Six Tips for Choosing a Mascot Performer
1. Mascot Performer Needs to Fit Height Range of Costume
2. Performers Need to be Physically Fit
3. Mascot Performers Need to Have Animated Personalities
4. It’s Best to Choose Either Male or Female Performers
5. Hold Tryouts for Potential Mascot Performers
6. Make Sure Your Performer is Available & Consistent

1. Mascot Performers Needs to Fit Height Range of Costume

Each mascot costume design has a specified height range. It is important to choose a performer that fits those height guidelines for the costume to fit them properly. If your performer is too tall or too short for the costume, the costume will either not fit or it will be too baggy. Your brand will be better represented if the costume fits your performer well. 

In our experience, we’ve found that most mascots seem to accommodate a height range of around 5′ 8″ – 5′ 11″. Not surprising given that the average male height in the US is 5′ 9″. There are exceptions to this though, so we recommend checking in with your mascot’s manufacturer to be sure.

Stretch Murphy Marion High School Mascot

2. Performers Need to be Physically Fit

There is no need to be a world class athlete, but understand that mascots can appear at events for hours at a time. This can be a physically taxing endeavor, especially in hot temperatures. Having a mascot cooling system does help, but being constantly on the move is going to put a strain on anybody. Not to mention that mascot’s are not generally given too many breaks.

Your performer will need to be able to handle being active for long periods of time amongst sometimes intense conditions. Whether your mascot is performing in 50- or 90-degree weather, it will still be hot inside of your mascot costume, so endurance is a must for anyone wanting to step inside a mascot costume.

In addition, mascot costumes can add extra pounds to the back or neck of your character’s performer, so they will need to be capable of carrying the extra weight. If you want your mascot to be super active and preform cool tricks or stunts, your performer themselves will need to be able to do those things. As well as have a mascot costume designed for sure activities.

3. Mascot Performers Need to have Animated Personalities

Your mascot’s performance is just that, a performance. Mascot costumes don’t have the luxury of having facial cues, eyes movements, or even a voice. This means that in order to express emotion, you have to do so with exaggeration. Every movement, mannerism, and expression needs to have a heap of energy behind it. For some people, this ability comes naturally. For others, it takes practice. Whichever camp your mascot performer finds themselves in, there is always room for improvement!

Something as simple as acting in front of mirror is a great way to build up skills as a mascot performer. If nothing else, you get to see how your mascot costume is perceived by the audience, as well as build muscle-memory when it comes where to place your hands and feet when doing certain gestures. If you don’t have a mirror, try using your cellphone. Not only can it replicate a mirror, but it allows you to record so you can review your progress. 

At appearances, your mascot will be engaging with lots of people, your performer will need to have a friendly personality. Your mascot will also need to enjoy interacting with people of all ages and must be able to read the crowd. Generally, a performer with a bubbly or outgoing personality outside the costume will be ideal for such a role.

Finally, this might seem rather obvious, but you need to make sure that your performer enjoys performing and interacting with a crowd. If your performer doesn’t find it enjoyable and doesn’t take the job seriously, the audience will know, so find someone who’s excited to be in costume.

Gieco Gecko high-fives a little kid

MASCOT TIP: If you want your mascot to have a certain personality, create a mascot handbook for your performer outlining the traits and behaviors of your mascot.

Rowland High School Mascots

4. It’s Best to Choose Either Male or Female Performers

If you need multiple mascot performers, it is wise to get performers of the same gender. Males and females naturally have different mannerisms, so if you want your mascot to carry a consistent persona, having all male performers or all female performers per mascot costume can help with that. It also might help you maintain consistencies within height restrictions, like we mentioned earlier.

One such example of this would be if you have a mascot who’s persona is deeply rooted in either masculinity or femininity. Characters like cowboys, gladiators, pioneers, or knights, are typically very masculine in their actions and appearance. Having male performers for these types of characters may help bring a more consistent performance to the table. Just as having female performers for a feminine character would. 

5. Hold Tryouts for Potential Mascot Performers

Tryouts are important to see how people bring your character to life. Anyone can say they can dance or act, but tryouts will put them to the test. A tryout also allows you to compare the performers head-to-head and see who conveys your mascot character the best.

During the tryout, you will also want to test for improvisational skills. Many different things can go wrong during a mascot performance, so your performer must adapt and handle situations on the spot. Examples may include; a child grabbing at the mascot’s head, a shoe falling off, or the mascot running into a wall.

Cleveland indians sports mascots hot dog race

MASCOT TIP: Develop a personality for your mascot before the tryouts so you can refer to it throughout.

Rowland High School Mascots with thumbs-up

6. Make Sure your Performer is Available & Consistent

Make sure the performers you choose will be available for all the events you plan to have your mascot attend. If you plan to have your mascot extremely involved in the community, you should probably consider having a back-up or two.

Having your mascot performer(s) in the costume on a consistent basis will allow them to get used to making the movements and gestures that bring the character to life. In addition, they will learn how to adapt to different crowds and situations that they will experience.

MASCOT TIP: While looking for a performer, make sure you also have a mascot handler to be with your performer at events. The mascot handler will keep your mascot safe by dealing with the audience. They can also help the mascot walk, carry giveaway items, schedule breaks, and organize photo-ops.

It can sometimes be difficult to find a mascot performer that meets all these qualifications. You may have to make some compromises, and decide what qualities are most important for your mascot and mascot performer.

After you have chosen your performer, have them watch this instructional video on how to perform in a mascot costume. It will give some tips on how to show certain emotions and tips on things to avoid while in costume.

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