though, there are only a couple types of characters that will work well
for any given organization. For this reason it is probably best to
consult your mascot supplier for proper guidance. In our experience,
there are basically four categories of mascot to look for, and each has
its pros and cons.
-We recommend using
an animal costume whenever possible. Animals tend
to be warmer and friendlier than other types of characters,
and people generally relate to them quicker as well. The type
of animal costume chosen is often related to the team or company
name. But if you have some flexibility on which type of animal
to choose, keep in mind the Street Characters' Law of Huggability:
The huggability factor is directly proportional to the amount
In accordance with the law, we'd recommend you go with a mammal or a bird instead
of a reptile, fish or insect. After all, kids and adults would
probably rather hug a dog than a lizard. Now if your team
name does not readily lend itself to a mascot concept, you
may want to consider an animal that is native to your geographic
area. If you try hard enough, you should be able to make any
animal costume concept work, despite your team name. Again,
if your supplier is on the ball, they can make any animal
work for you.
Characters - The second most successful types of mascots
are what we call "Fantasy Characters." These creatures are
the type that are really non-descript. They don't exist in
nature and no one is really sure what they are. Two of the
best known examples of fantasy characters are the "Philly
Phanatic" of the Philadelphia Phillies and "Mr. Snuffalupagus"
from Sesame Street. The type of fantasy character you choose
is limited only by your imagination. And if you apply the
Street Characters' Law of Huggability, whatever you choose
will have a lot of fur.
Fantasy characters are best used for team names like the "Storm" or
"Wave" or "Phillies" which don't lend themselves well to an animal
costume character. The drawback to having a fantasy character is that
because the creature is not readily recognizable, your fans or audience
will likely often ask "What the heck is that?" Because of this, it may
take a little bit more work on your part to make the fantasy character
identifiable with your organization.
Human Characters -
We try to discourage the use of humans as a basis for a mascot concept
because of the many downsides associated with them. For example,
children tend to be more frightened of human characters because they
often identify them as "strangers." Plus you always run the risk of
alienating a fan who may not have the same color, ethnicity, religious
symbolism or gender that the mascot is representing.
Human characters can work if all of these factors are addressed
properly. We recommend making the concept as friendly and as cartoonish
as possible so that it limits the potential for alienation.
Objects - As we mentioned earlier, Street Characters
has created mascots based on inanimate objects like lumps
of coal and rolled up newspapers. However, it is sometimes
difficult to make these characters as lively and appealing
as an animal costume or a fantasy character. And if you apply
Street Characters' Law of Huggability, there are very few
inanimate objects that have a lot of fur.
Also, in order to capture the look and feel of the "real" inanimate
object, the costumes for these characters tend to be rigid and
inflexible, less easy to move around in and harder to transport.
Although it is possible to make inanimate object mascots appealing,
they should really be used as a last resort, and then only by clients
who don't require a lot of activity from their performer.
Once you have decided what your mascot will be, you'll need to buy
the right costume. This can be a long and involved process,
especially if you haven't done your homework. Choosing the
right costume takes a lot more than just phoning a costume
shop and ordering your mascot. First, you have to answer
some important questions:
Q1 : How active is your
mascot going to be? Different organizations expect different levels of activity from
their mascots. For instance, a professional or college
sport mascot will likely be very energetic, running up and
down the sidelines and bleachers, acting up in front of large
crowds and being the main cheerleader. On the other hand,
a mascot for a small business or a charitable organization
may be expected to be more low-key, limiting his activities
to walking around, shaking hands and hugging kids. Different
activity levels will determine how your costume should
be made. The higher the activity level, the more durable,
flexible, breathable and lightweight your costume should be.
Q2 : Do you plan to use
your mascot and his image for marketing
and merchandising? If you want to sell stuffed toys that look like your mascot
or give away coloring books with his image, design your
mascot to be unique. This way, your mascot will have greater
appeal and your marketing efforts will be more successful because
your character will be one of a kind. Also, there will
be no mistaking it for another organization's mascot. That
will protect you from legal issues and copyright infringement.
Q3 : How many performers
will play your mascot? If you plan on having one person perform as your mascot all of
the time, you may want to have the costume custom fitted
to that person. If you plan on having several operators for
the character, your costume will have to have some size flexibility.
For example, your costume could be made for performers within
the range of 5'4'' to 5'10'' tall.
Q4 : What is your
budget? A mascot is an investment.
That means that you should be able
to realize a return on your investment over time. But, it
also means that you should be wise about how much you spend
on a costume. Spending too little will likely get you a costume
that will not be able to perform properly, will not be durable
enough to last very long, or will not look
good enough to promote. Spending too much means that you
will never realize a decent return on your investment. For
a functional, marketable mascot that will stand up to very
active use for at least 4-5 years, anticipate spending at
Once you have done your homework, you will be armed with
all of the information you will need to get the best mascot
to suit your purposes.
For more details on mascot costumes, please check out the
mascot costumes page listed in the main menu.
Choosing the Right Personality for
Your mascot's personality should reflect your organization's
public image. Because a mascot never speaks, his personality
will need to shine through in his gestures and his performance
skits. Therefore, if your organization has positioned itself
as a bold industry leader, you will want your mascot's
actions to suggest he is confident and daring. If your organization
has positioned itself as innovative, your mascot's actions
should appear to be both inquisitive and creative.
Your mascot's personality traits will also need to reflect
the type of character he is. For example, if your mascot
is a dog, he should act like a dog. He could lick people's hands instead of shaking
them, or if someone scratched him behind the ear, he could
thump his leg.
Your mascot's personality will inevitably reflect the performer's
personality as well. For consistency's sake, however, your
organization's corporate identity should be the dominant influence on the mascot's personality.
Your mascot should also be able to adapt his personality
to suit the different settings he performs in. For instance,
if he is working the crowds at a hockey or baseball game,
he will need to have display a zanier, more outgoing personality
than if he was appearing at a sedate business function.
Because of their high profile, mascots are often asked to do some incredible
stunts. For example, some Street Characters™ have been scuba
diving, sky diving, downhill skiing, skating and rollerblading.
One of our Characters even went the distance in a 24 hour dance marathon.
of assignments like these, a mascot costume must be able
to weather any kind of environment while remaining user friendly for
the performer inside.
Flexibility and Comfort
For a mascot costume to be user friendly, it must be flexible to move
in and be very comfortable to wear.
To be flexible, the costume should be constructed with properly
fitted, pliable materials that allow the performer to move around
easily. This is particularly important for the head and feet. The
performer should be able to move the head easily in order to appear
more animated, as well as to see better.
To allow easy head movement, quality mascot heads are built around a
sports helmet that straps to the performer's own head. Street
Characters' heads, for example, are fitted onto hockey helmets. A
similar thing is done to ensure easy foot movement. With a Street
Character™ and other quality mascot costumes, the feet are built over
shoes so that the mascot's foot moves exactly like the performer's,
albeit in a LARGER THAN LIFE manner.
To ensure comfort, the costume must be as lightweight and as well-ventilated
as possible. This is needed to offset the heat generated inside the costume
in a highly active environment. That heat can be quite significant. In
fact, some sports' mascots find it gets hot enough for them to sweat
off 8-10 pounds a game.
To minimize the chances of overheating, all Street Character™
costumes are made with lightweight, breathable and non-absorbing foams
and fabrics. Ventilation openings are added as well to provide good air
In order to survive an active lifestyle
and keep looking great, a mascot costume must be made of extremely
durable materials. The construction must be incredibly solid
and able to withstand a lot of abuse. But at the same time,
you don't want to sacrifice flexibility and comfort. Because
of this, you should pay close attention to the materials used
to build your costume. Here are some materials to be wary
Metal - It is heavy,
it can bend and it can rust. And if it sheers inside the costume
it could injure the performer.
Fiberglass - While
lighter than metal, it is still heavy, especially if used
in large quantities. It also brittle and could shatter under
heavy impact. It is also not soft to the touch.
Plastic - It is
usually not flexible enough. It also can crack in cold weather
or lose its shape in hot weather. It, too, is not soft to
Paper Mache - Prone
to chip or crack if it suffers an impact. It can also turn
to mush and get moldy if it gets wet.
- It absorbs moisture but cannot be washed or sanitized. It
also tends to break down (rots) quickly when it rubs against
other materials in the costume.
You can get a high quality mascot costume without any of these materials
in it, or with the amount kept to a minimum. Street Characters'
costumes are a case in point. All of our costumes are made
with state-of-the-art materials
that are durable, flexible, lightweight and comfortable for
the performer. They also carry a lifetime warranty against
defects in workmanship and
are surprisingly easy to clean.
safety of your performer should be paramount when selecting a mascot
costume. In addition to selecting a costume that is well ventilated (to
prevent heat exhaustion) and lightweight and flexible (to prevent undue
body strain), you will also want a costume that allows the performer
maximum use of his senses. For example, a performer's vision will
always be restricted inside a mascot costume, especially his peripheral
vision. However, there are design methods that can minimize these
Easy to Maintain
Even the most durable mascot costume can suffer damage during regular
use. And all mascot costumes get dirty, both inside and
out. Because of this, you will want a costume that is easy to maintain.
costumes are designed for quick and easy maintenance. All
our costumes are made with machine washable fur bodies and hand washable
Our costumes also come with a complete set of cleaning
and repair instructions.
Download and Read our costume care instruction booklet! (requires adobe