Thursday, December 12, 2013

Feelin' Hot, Hot, Hot?

ARE MASCOT COSTUMES HOT? The simple answer is YES!

Many people believe that there is some magical way to avoid being hot and not sweating inside a mascot costume.  That simply is not possible...
While our construction methods make mascot costumes as comfortable as possible and there are new materials being used that help body heat escape, the reality is that wearing a fur jumpsuit – whether you’re simply standing still, walking, or jumping around – will make you sweat. That is the body’s natural response to heat and there is nothing wrong with it.

Rather than focusing on a mascot costume being hot, mascot performers should be concerned about two things:

  1. Is there proper ventilation?
  2. Can the costume be thoroughly cleaned (or at least fully air dried) between uses?

Find more information HERE on general mascot care. We provide detailed instructions and helpful tips to keep your mascot costume fresh and ready to wear.

Ventilation in a mascot costume is crucial.  A mascot head that is completely enclosed poses a potential hazard for the wearer. You could easily pass out simply from not getting enough fresh air.  Mascot costumes typically have areas that are covered in mesh to allow air to pass through while still preventing the public from seeing the performer inside the costume.  Meshed areas usually include eyes, mouth, ears, and noses. 

Ventilation is also an important factor in the mascot bodysuit you’re wearing.  If any parts of the mascot body contain foam (usually in a big belly or other areas that are padded) then the ONLY type of foam that should be used is reticulated foam.  The reason for this is that reticulated foam has very large pores.  This allows body heat to pass through it and it will also prevent the foam from holding moisture when it’s washed.  This foam will dry completely after washing and prevent bacteria from growing.  If your mascot costume has any type of foam in the body other than reticulated (i.e. upholstery foam) then you should NOT wear it. 


All professional mascot and character costumes as seen in theme parks like Disney, Universal, Six Flags, etc. have elaborate cooling systems.   

FALSE! The important thing to note is that these costumes are generally worn by professional performers who have built up a tolerance for the environment inside a costume and rely on 3 important rules of mascot performing – proper ventilation for fresh air, regular breaks, and drinking plenty of water.

Fans and Cooling Vests.

At Hogtown Mascots, we recognize that most people who volunteer (or are recruited) to wear a mascot costume are usually not seasoned performers. For that reason we do install fans in our heads and also provide the option of an ice vest because there is a demand for them. It’s important to keep in mind though, that the fans we install are not designed for cooling but rather to help bring in more fresh air into the costume. For more tips on how to be a great mascot performer check out this link

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Here's How to Make an Effective Pitch for a Mascot to Improve Your Brand Awareness

If your company or client has an existing mascot character, you are already ahead of the game.Why? Because mascots are an effective way to build awareness.

Synthesio report, "companies with an identifiable character will engage consumers more effectively than those without. A similar study by WSJ also states that in our social media age, many companies are either revitalizing existing characters or are actively developing new characters to represent their brands. This strategy, first made popular in the 1950’s is now enjoying a modern day renaissance.

Here are some points to consider:

  1. Live is better than print. A logo doesn't engage people the way a live mascot does. The Michelin Man, Tony the Tiger and the Geico Gecko have all been successful in building their company brands.
  1. Focus on your demographic. Your mascot goes to where your customers live, work and play.
  1. Pack it up and go. Mascots are the most flexible and portable of all marketing tools - in store, at sporting venues, trade shows, parades or charity events.
  1. Mascots and social media are a match made in heaven. According to the same Synthesio report, you get more buzz on social media when you have a mascot.

So next time you’re in a strategy meeting, throwing around ideas in search of the holy grail of consumer engagement, just picture Tony the Tiger giving you a big thumbs up and saying, “Mascots are greeeaaat!”

If you'd like to know more about how a mascot can help build your brand awareness, contact us!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Tinted Eyes

OK, for the record I LOVE tinted eyes in a mascot!  I've been obsessed with this aspect of mascot construction since early on. When you look at Mickey and Minnie Mouse don't you just love those nice shiny plastic eyes? Ok, maybe you don't notice that - but I do!

When I first started making mascots at the tender age of 13, I - ingeniously or naively -  would take large plastic soda bottles and cut out the center part so I had a nice clear and flexible piece of plastic to use.  Then I would use peel and stick car tint, cut the pupil shape out and apply it to the clear plastic and paint the edges white to make eyes.  Looking back on it, they weren't half bad and hey, it was probably the first reuse of plastic bottles before it became trendy!

Making tinted eyes for a mascot is absolutely the best way to give the mascot a life-like character - a "soul". It's common for people to be confused and ask "where does the person see out of ?" since they tend to look for a screened mesh area. Its also much easier for the performer to see out of tinted eyes since it's just like looking through of a pair of sunglasses.

The only drawback you might encounter (and depending on the weather conditions) is that the eyes will want to fog up. To avoid this you have to make sure the head is vented properly to allow airflow in an alternate area (ear holes, large mouth opening, etc.). A fan is almost always necessary to avoid fogging up with this type of eye installation. You can also make the eyes in such a way that the pupil is recessed back from the outer white eye area just a bit to allow a small gap for airflow around the pupil however, this is a more advance building technique and can be challenging for the beginner masot maker.

I've moved on from soda pop bottles and am now making tinted eyes using custom vac form molds for a professional look and quality. It's always good though to look back at your roots for inspiration and see what you can improve on with your current techniques. If your interested in trying your hand at making tinted eyes, search your grocery store or other local shops for things like the bottoms of clear plastic soap bottles and different condiment containers. Food and housewares stores are great places to find things that are already shaped properly for eyes.  Keeping my creativity on alert and trying to see the potential in everyday household items is my most favorite part of doing this kind of work!  Let me know how your creativity and ingenuity works for you!