Monday, September 20, 2010

Fans in Mascots - Good or Bad?

One of the most often asked questions from potential clients is whether or not the mascot costume comes with a fan.  Many people assume that all "pro" mascots come with fans and elaborate cooling systems. This is rarely, if ever, true.

In my years of experience performing at major theme parks in highly recognizable character costumes, I can tell you that NONE of the mascot costumes had fans installed.  As a mascot performer, you quickly accept it as a fact of life that you are going to get hot and sweaty! To minimize the discomfort and reduce your risk of over-heating, I recommend not wearing a costume for more than 30 minutes in normal summer temperatures.  If it's an unusually hot day then cut the time down by 5 minute increments and see how it goes.  In cooler weather, you can probably go a bit longer if you want, but in general try to stay in the 30 minute range, then jump out for 30, drink some water and get back in! Ultimately it comes down to personal preference, as each mascot performer has his or her own tolerance level for heat. 

Ironically, many mascot costumes come with fans that blow air into the costume.  I believe this is why most people find that they are not very effective.  The purpose of the fan should be to exhaust heated air from inside the costume – think of it like a bathroom fan after you shower.  You want the hot, moist air to be expelled to the outside and the vaccuum that this creates will pull fresh air into the head through the meshed areas.  As the cooler air gets drawn in it does a more effective job at lowering the temperature inside the costume.

When it comes to keeping the fan operating, be wary of being sold any type of “specialty” battery pack to power the fan. Keep it simple by using inexpensive and readily available AA batteries (rechargeable if you like, to save cost).

So call me old school – I still don’t think that fans are entirely necessary but I do understand why many people find them useful or necessary. Based on feedback from my customers, it seems that I’ll be putting fans in all our mascots but I’ll leave it up to you to decide!  

What do you think??

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