Mascots play a very important role in building brand recognition, loyalty, and interest. A mascot’s job is a combination of several elements; part athlete, mime, actor, and clown! Mascot performing takes practice and patience to acquire the necessary skills to build great performances that engage adults and children alike. Ready to become the best mascot performer out there? Get the mascot tips you need to know right here!
Here are 10 mascot tips that you can follow to be a great mascot performer:
1. Never let anyone in public see you change into or out of your mascot costume. Never take off any costume elements such as the head, gloves, or feet in a visible area. It’s important for consistency (and to avoid traumatizing small children!) so that you don’t ruin the grand illusion. Always find a private dressing area to change or remove the head if you are taking a break.
2. Exaggerate all of your movements and gestures. From walking and waving, to showing emotions - everything should be grand and larger than life. Your costume is large - big hands, big head, big feet, and so you need to have equally as large gestures so your message doesn’t get lost on the audience. Wave with your entire arm, embody every emotion, and add a little pep to your step by lifting your feet high as you walk around.
3. Embody the emotions you want to portray. When you're wearing a mascot costume, emotions can be difficult to communicate, since your character has no facial expressions except the one built into the costume. This means that you need to use your whole body and exaggerated gestures to portray emotions such as happiness, sadness, surprise, shyness etc.. If you’re happy, try skipping, clapping,
and nodding. Shy? Bring your hand up to your face in a “peekaboo” fashion and twist your body away from the audience while peeking. Sad? Hunch over your shoulders and hang your head. You can even mime crying by holding your hands over your eyes and shaking up and down. Practice these emotions while wearing your costume in front of a mirror, and get feedback from your guide/handler. Watch videos of your performance and analyze what went well and where you had opportunity for improvement!
4. Pace yourself. Mascot performing is very high-energy. Your audience will expect you to keep in character, and your job is to build up the energy, engage, and entertain! If you run out of steam partway through your performance, you will not make the most out of your performing time. Don’t start out at your peak energy output! Conserve energy by taking rests when you can. If you do need a longer rest, make it part of the act. Exaggerate the “exhausted” feeling by splaying out on a bench or chair and performing a ‘wiping your forehead’ or ‘sighing’ gesture.
5. Stay in character during the entire performance. This means you don’t remove any parts of your mascot costume in public, you don’t lose energy halfway through, and you don’t talk, unless you have a microphone set up for this purpose. Talking without an audio system can ruin the illusion of the character, as your voice will sound muffled and out of breath from behind the mascot head. Not only that, but different performers will have different voices which might confuse the audience. Your mascot handler/guide can provide excuses for your character not talking such as, “Oh! He lost his voice form all the cheering he did at the last game!”, or, “She can’t talk right now because she’s saving her voice for her performance later!”. You can be creative and funny with this! On the other hand, if having a talking mascot is important to you, just ask us about solutions to help deliver the sound.
6. Be the personality of your character. You must shed your own personality and inhibitions when you are performing. Your character should have a back story, and you can use elements of that back story, plus the values that your team/organization embodies, to create a unique personality for the character. Once you ‘become’ that character, it is much easier to put on an engaging performance!
7. Treat everyone with respect. Everyone is different, which means that they will react differently to the mascot. Always mirror the behavior of the person with whom you are interacting. If they don’t want to interact with you, it is best to simply back- off rather than press the issue. Read body language and respect each person’s wishes. If someone goes in for a hug, you can (and should!) hug gently back. Make sure to hug over the shoulders as opposed to around the waist. Full body hugs can be intimidating for children and inappropriate for adults, so be sure to hug from the shoulders only. If someone only wants a high-five or handshake, then that is what you give them. A handler or spotter will guide you and make sure to protect you from possible conflicts.
8. Approach different age group appropriately. Young children may be frightened or shy. Crouch down low, mimic their body language, or back off totally if need be. Never pick up small children as movement and visuals are limited inside the costume and this could make it dangerous. Gauge your actions and reactions to the audience you are entertaining. Young children will be totally enthralled with your presence and will often want hugs, high-fives, and they will want to touch your costume. While some teens will want to engage with you and hug you, other teens may have a more “laid back” approach, preferring thumbs-up and high-fives to hugs. Read body language and mirror behaviour. You can laugh, tease and jest with them as long as it’s within the person’s comfort zone.
9. Connect with other mascots. Put yourself out there! Actively search out other mascot performers, reach out on social media, attend meet-ups, or join forums. Other mascots may have valuable performing tips and tricks that will help you tremendously and it is always nice to make new friends!
10. Last but most certainly not least, you should make sure you take care of your health. As a mascot performer you may be performing in various degrees of discomfort (heat or cold, tiredness, etc.), and still be expected to perform at your best. Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water leading up to your performance. When you take breaks, you can replenish your lost electrolytes with sport drinks. To prep for your high-energy performance you should make sure to eat carb-rich foods the day before to build your body’s energy stores. Load up on your nutrients after a performance by eating things like bananas and other fruits, potatoes, and protein.
Above all, the most important thing when performing as a mascot is to have fun and love your job. You are ultimately responsible for bringing entertainment and joy to your audience, as the face of your team or organization. Take on that challenge in good spirits and you will be a highly effective mascot.
If you are looking to create a mascot for your school, team, or business, get a quote today and we can help you make a lasting impact with a custom mascot costume!