Once you have a mascot costume, it's time to choose a mascot performer. Your costume can provide some limitations with whom you can choose as your mascot performer, so it is important to be aware of them.
How to be a Mascot Performer: Do's and Don'ts
If you stumbled across this article, you’re probably either a mascot performer looking to improve your skills, or you’re just starting out and are trying to be one. Now, there are many rules for being a mascot performer, and it takes time to perfect your skills. Whether you plan on being a meet and greet mascot or an active mascot, the following tips will help you gain some cred with the fans. Here are the number one do's and don’ts for how to be a mascot performer.
How to Be a Mascot Do's:
Always Be in Character
Mascot performers are onstage from the moment they put the costume on to the moment they take it off. It is important to stay in character the whole time the mascot costume is being worn. Mascots generate a lot of attention and even if the performer does not notice, someone is always paying attention to what the mascot is doing.
As a mascot performer, your job is to make sure you portray the personality your mascot is supposed to have while in costume. Whether that be certain gestures and emotions or a certain level of energy, keep the character’s persona consistent and exciting while performing.
MASCOT TIP: To maintain a consistent persona, create a mascot handbook that describes actions, emotions, and personality traits that your mascot character is supposed to have.
Maintain Constant Motion
In addition to always being in character you also need to maintain constant motion as a mascot performer. When in costume, YOU are the entertainment. People will be watching you and expecting you to perform, so it helps to keep moving at all times.
No matter what type of emotion you are trying to convey, the mascot costume will have the same facial expression. Because of this, it can be more challenging to accurately portray a certain emotion or expression. It is important to exaggerate all movements so that the meaning doesn’t get lost on the outside of the costume.
MASCOT TIP: Take some time to practice in and out of the costume to master exaggerated motions, body language, showing emotions, and simply walking. Try to film all these actions or practice in front of a mirror so you can truly see and perfect the motions for performances.
Read the Crowd & Situation
Every event that you attend as a mascot is going to be different. Some events are meant to be more professional, and some are more fun and kid friendly. Depending on the crowd and style of event, you will need to modify your performance to fit the circumstances. Everyone responds differently to a mascot, so if someone doesn’t want to interact with you, move on to someone who does.
It is helpful to know what kind of audience will be attending the event before you start performing, that way you can tailor your behavior and expressions to the event and expected audience.
Take Frequent Breaks
It is important that you take frequent breaks throughout your performance. Being a mascot performer is tiring, but no one wants to see a tired mascot. To prevent wearing yourself out, take breaks often during your event—this will give you a chance to catch your breath, drink some water, and reboot before going back out there.
If you are a super active mascot, or if you are performing in hot weather, make sure to take even more breaks, as these conditions will tire you out faster.
Be focused on your performance and take it seriously but make it your own and have some fun. The audience will be able to tell if you are enjoying yourself or not, and the audience will have a lot more fun if you are too.
How to Be a Mascot Don'ts:
Talk While in Costume
The number one rule for how to be a mascot is not to talk while in costume. Mascots are not supposed to talk, and if you do it will break character. Instead of using your voice, you will need to use expressions and movements to communicate—your body needs to speak for you.
You should also have a mascot handler with you, so if needed, they can speak for you.
Pick Up Kids
Never pick up children while in a mascot costume. It is very dangerous and poses a huge risk. Vision and dexterity can be very limited in costume, so if the kid starts moving around, you can lose control of them and end up dropping them. To avoid the risk, sit down or lower to one knee instead of holding them.
Sometimes parents will insist that you hold their child for a picture, but your mascot handler or escort can help divert the situation.
Change in Public
As a mascot, it is important that you never change in public. If people see you change into the costume, it ruins the magic of the character. Make an extra effort to change in privacy when there are children around.
MASCOT TIP: When people are requesting your mascot at events, make sure you require them to have a changing room, other than a restroom, to change into your costume.
Misrepresent Your Brand
Your mascot is your brand representation. Whenever you are in costume, you are representing your company. Do not do anything that could hurt the company’s reputation. All of your actions and behaviors need to be appropriate and need to follow the guidelines of your company. Remember that someone is always watching—even if you think otherwise.
As stated earlier, being a mascot performer is a lot of work and can be tiring. Even though you are expected to be energetic throughout your whole performance, you still need to make sure you’re staying healthy. Take breaks, drink water, and don’t overdo it.
If you follow these rules for how to be a mascot, you are sure to have a great performance. Remember that performing as a mascot can be challenging, but the more practice you get, the easier it will become! If you want more mascot performer tips, watch this video we created on how to be mascot!
Need to Talk to a Mascot Professional?
If you want your mascot to be active and to perform at its best, you will need to balance your design with the functionality of the costume. Consider the following design tips to maximize your costume's performance.