Mascots are a popular way of entertainment and advertising. But the costumes can be heavy and hot, the 56+ mascots need to perform efficiently, and for that, they need to be kept cool.
Here are a few tips for keeping cool in a mascot costume:
- The design of the costume should have inbuilt features like vents and fans.
- The choice of the clothes worn will impact how hot the wearer gets.
- Sweatbands are essential.
- Cool vests are a great way to keep cool
- Breaks and hydration are vital.
So, let us look at the various ways one can keep cool in a mascot costume in more detail.
How to keep cool in a mascot costume
If you are going to wear a mascot costume on, how to keep cool is of vital importance. Overheating can be dangerous, so we need to put safeguards in place. And we need to take note of the weather, the heat, and humidity, the amount of energy the wearer will be expanding as well as the time scale.
The main features we need to look at are summarised here:
- The design of the costume will have inbuilt features like vents and fans
- The choice of the clothes worn will impact on how hot the wearer gets
- Sweatbands are essential
- Cool vests are a great way to keep cool
- Breaks and hydration are vital elements in the performance.
Mascot costumes often have several thick layers and weigh up to 50 pounds. Fortunately, they usually have design features to help you overheat. But they can still make the person wearing them extremely hot.
It is important to get the right fit and to be able to move reasonably freely while wearing them. Nothing is more uncomfortable than a hot sweaty costume, tight-fitting and chafing the skin. So, if at all possible, get to try the outfit on before you start your performance.
The integral fan
Many mascot costumes have a battery-operated fan installed as an integral part of the costume. It directs the air to the head area so you can breathe more easily, and your head at least stays cooler. However, a fan alone is not sufficient to keep you cool. And they can be difficult to place in the optimum position. They should not only allow you to breathe more easily but also cool the airflow throughout the costume, without being too obvious to the outsider.
There will be ventilation holes in the costume as standard. This allows air to flow freely throughout the costume and is an important element in keeping the wearer cooler.
Vent holes are made in various places through the costume
Mesh vents not only allow airflow but also can help the wearer see more clearly. They also make the vent less visible to the outside. You will find these in areas of the costume that contrast with the rest of the design – like the areas around the eyes – to see better, the ears to hear better, and the mouth to breathe more easily. When placed like this, the mesh vents are not only effective but also do not detract from the visual appeal of the costume.
Choose your clothes with care – they are one factor you have complete control over, and a wise choice will enable you to perform your act with a reasonable degree of comfort.
You need to know the likely weather, and how active you will be and how long you will be on the show, all these factors will influence what clothes are best to wear. So, plan your outfit with care.
Hot weather clothes
If it is hot, wear the lightest clothes you can. Many people wear far too much beneath their costumes and suffer accordingly. Very often, you will be highly active as well – walking around the crowds, dancing and generally jigging around. This will make you even hotter!
Shorts and t-shirts which wick away your sweat will help you keep cool—work-out clothes specially designed to keep you cool work well. Natural fibers like cotton are far better than synthetics, which will just allow the moisture to stay on your skin, making you wet and sticky and hot. Jeans are not recommended!
Cold weather clothes
Of course, if you will be standing around in cold weather, then you will need warmer clothes. In this case, you could try base layer undershirts, and leggings like the athletes wear would be a good choice as they are comfortable and do not restrict movement and are not bulky
These are a must. They keep the sweat out of your eyes so you can see – and you can’t even wipe it away. And if you can’t see, you could be dangerous to yourself and to other people, especially children who might not move out of your way fast enough.
You would be well advised to keep a few spares with you to change when you get a break. You might choose to take a wet cloth with you to wipe your face if you get a chance, it can refresh you.
A cool vest is the ultimate costume accessory to help you keep cool – and in hot, humid weather when you will be active in your costume, a cool vest is essential. Although they only cool the torso, this is the area where your core temperature will be affected, so although your legs and arms will not be cool, the essential core part of you will benefit from a cool vest.
There is a wide selection of cool vests.
Water-cooled vests are lightweight and simple to use. You just soak the vest (or shirt, or tank top, or beanie, or wrist strap) in water, and evaporation takes care of the cooling. A good garment may cool the temperature around you by as much as 20 degrees C when there are good ventilation and a fan to make a breeze.
Some cooling vests can be placed in the freezer or fridge before use to maximize their effect for up to three hours. And a properly designed system is leakproof!
Some techniques use a continuous flow of cold water pumped through tubes in the garment around the upper body. There will be a battery to provide the power needed.
Others use the principle of ice packed in pockets in the jacket. They do last a long time – but not forever, and when the ice has melted and water is sloshing around, they can be heavy and uncomfortable. Sometimes gel packs are used instead- and you can always replenish them during breaks. They just need to be frozen first.
Rotation of costume or mascot
No one should be expected to perform in a mascot costume for too long, and depending on the weather and the degree of energetic exercise, the wearer undertakes a rotation of mascots that should be in place. You don’t want anyone to suffer from heat exhaustion, or the extremely dangerous heat stroke.
Similarly, there should be a system of checks – either from outside observers or from other mascots around at the time this can prevent lightly odd behavior from becoming a serious health issue.
Heat exhaustion or heat stroke
With heat exhaustion, the person may feel faint and be seen to be a bit wobbly on their feet. They will be sweating profusely. But the time heat stroke comes on, they will have a throbbing headache and will no longer be sweating.
With heat exhaustion, they will feel clammy, moist, and cool, but when the heatstroke occurs, they will feel hot and dry, if the temperature goes above 103 F, call 9-1-1. In both cases, they may feel sick and have a fast pulse, and possibly muscle cramps
You never want to reach this situation, so cooling is essential when you are wearing a mascot costume, and so is a watching brief to notice mild instability or wobbling before it gets serious.
Drinking a lot
Because the wearer will almost certainly be sweating a lot, he or she will also need to drink a lot. (And toilet breaks may be needed). So, one should take every opportunity to have a drink and a break. The organizer should ensure that there are sufficient suitable breaks in the schedule.
Afterward, the mascot wearer deserves a cool shower and a long, cool (but not cold) drink.
Performing as a mascot is hot work – and in keeping efficient, the wearer of the costume must stay reasonably cool. Overheating can have dangerous consequences.
But with the modern mascot designs suits and the use of a cooling vest together with a sensible choice of clothes, breaks, and plenty of drinks, the mascot wearer can keep cool and perform his duties effectively. Mascots are great entertainments and advertisements – they need to be able to perform well to enhance the reputation of the employer or club.
As the use of mascots increases, so there are many ways to keep cool in a mascot costume.