Mascot Training: It’s A Lot More Than Just Putting On A Suit

So you want to be a mascot and learn the ropes? Why not? It’s a great gig. What other job do you get to hug kids, walk around giving high fives and jam to music and get paid for it? Here are some tips on how to be the best mascot:

  • Physically Fit – To be a good mascot you must be in fairly good shape as the job’s pretty physical with lots of moving around, jumping, hopping, dancing and prancing in a mascot costume that can weigh as much as 50 pounds.
  • Be in character – Being a believable mascot means you need to embrace the character and put your own personality “on hold” to let the mascot’s personality shine through. Each mascot develops their own walk or strut and gestures. In fact, your whole demeanor changes.
  • Mums the word – Never, EVER talk. The only way to communicate is through pantomime. And don’t be fooled, those kids will try to get you to talk, scream, swear or growl, but don’t. It’s in the Mascot Code of Conduct.
  • Secrecy – Also important in the Mascot Code of Conduct is that nobody should see you change into or out of your costume or expose a body part in any way, and we mean that only in the most wholesome of context. No wrists or ankles accidently peeping out. It’s like letting it slip that there’s no Easter Bunny or Santa Claus or Tooth Fairy.
  • Make an Entrance–No matter what the event–sports game or opening of a store– make a huge entrance and let people know you’ve arrived. Do what you need to in order to grab that attention right from the start.
  • Energy–You need to double if not triple the intensity of your normal actions. For example, instead of walking, try marching. Don’t drag your feet, but pick them up off the ground, nice and high, so they’re noticed. If you’re waving, use your whole body. To add some character to your character, try putting a jump in your step, a scowl on your face or walk with a kid-like bounce. All of these actions adds personality.
  • Handlers are Okay – You don’t have to do everything yourself. Did you know some mascots use handlers? Sometimes, when you’re in the costume you have a hard time hearing or seeing so some mascots use a “handler” to let the actor know when people are near and if somebody wants to shake hands or give a hug.
  • Be Emotional –Put your head on and practice some emotions in the mirror. Try to be happy, sad, angry, mischevious, excited, and scared. Get acquainted with where the facial features of your costume are and use them like a human or animal would. You can even search the Internet for facial expressions. There’s tons of websites out there with graphics. After you’ve mastered facial expressions, try adding your legs and arms to match the emotion. Try running in slow motion, trudging, falling, throwing a tantrum, hanging your head in shame or sadness, pretending to cry, jumping up and down, and skipping. You can even set up a video recorder and film yourself to see what works and what doesn’t. Practice, practice, practice! Because your costume makes it difficult to see, especially from far away, make sure to exaggerate your facial expressions and movements.

Most of all, treat people with respect. If somebody doesn’t want to be bothered, move on to somebody else. You can’t win everyone over and you should know when to walk away.