Let’s face the facts here, folks…. High performance mascots are more likely to get sweaty, that’s just basic biology. On top of ensuring basic performer hygiene (no need to be polite here: your performer needs deodorant!) you can take extra precautions to improve your performer’s comfort and coolness levels. While we have always said the best air conditioning is a good attitude, here are a few things that can be done to help it along:
- Choose to get a mascot with an exhaust fan. Exhaust fans expel hot stale air from the head to cool the performer. Other types of fans (ventilation) blow air inward and just blow around hot air in the head (how pointless is that?!)
- The locations of strategic ventilation can be determined for the head during the design phase (such as through the eyes, open mouths, or nose area).
- Have your performer wear light shorts & t-shirt (cotton or some other wicking fabric).
- Your mascot body can be designed with courtesy air exposure, allowing ventilation within the body of the mascot in key areas. This is always worth a discussion as furry mascots in summer can get quite warm! The last thing you want is “Jolly the Happy Fun Times Bear” fainting in front of kids.
- The use of newer fabrics that wick away sweat quickly can be incorporated into strategic areas of the costume that touch skin.
- Absorbent sweat bands can be attached to the internal head structure of the character.
- A cooling vest system will keep a performer cool for up to 8 hours depending on weather conditions. Our chosen systems employ the use of gel packs which stay at a comfortable and safe temperature (not below 14 degrees). However, these do add bulk and weight to the costume so some of our more active performers opt to go without a vest.
- Have a mascot routine that plans for ‘breaks’ (whether in character or not). Be sure to plan for some ‘low key’ yet effective and ‘in character’ stunts in the audience while sitting or on the dugouts etc. Give your performer a 5 minute break every 20 – 30 minutes, between active spurts — trust me, they’ll thank you for it!
- Have your performer stay hydrated, stay hydrated, stay hydrated… did we mention; stay hydrated?
Remember, your character may be performing rigorous routines in warm weather. It is the responsible choice to make sure that they are up to the challenge, and healthy! It’s probably not the best idea to hire Bob, who is 70 lbs overweight with a heart condition, to be your cheetah mascot. Remember that mascots are people too, and make sure to aid your performer in staying cool and comfortable!