Mascots can be made of many different materials; it really depends on the costume and the manufacturer. Different materials are used for different looks, different levels of wear and tear, different weather environments, etc. Most of our mascots are made from a combination of fabric and foam. While different detail components of the mascot like eyes, tongues, etc. are usually made from a special type of plastic or rubber.
The foam we use for our mascots ranges from very rigid (usually used for feet and heads) to very flexible (used for things like the bodysuit). All of our foams are breathable and lightweight while not trapping moisture—discouraging the growth of bacteria and mould.
The most common varieties of foams that we used are EVA, Etha, Esther and Reticulated. EVA foam is generally used for the heads and feet of our mascots. This foam is very dense and durable and doesn’t absorb moisture, which means it can easily be wiped clean after use. Etha foam is dense but more porous, and is used for creating intricate details on mascots—usually on their heads. Esther foam is used in areas that require a softness, like cheeks. We make them squishable! Reticulated foam is used when we have to “build out” our mascots, like a big belly or chest. We sandwich this lightweight foam between layers of sports mesh to ensure the costume is still breathable for the wearer. This foam does not absorb moisture to allow for comfort, but it can be put in the washing machine and dries very quickly since water passes right through it!
When it comes to fabrics, we also try to use lightweight breathable materials, keeping in mind the comfort of the person wearing the costume. The different types of fabrics we use range from faux fur/fleece, antron (muppet) fleece, Bur-fab (Veltrex), poly/cotton twills and heavy-duty spandex. We’ll use any type of fabric that will give us the look you want—but we’ll never sacrifice on the quality.
Are there materials that shouldn’t be used on mascots?
At Hogtown, we never use upholstery foam, fibreglass or any compressed paper product when making our mascots. These materials are either too heavy, too flimsy, too toxic, or they are not moisture resistant, therefore making them excellent breeding grounds for bacteria. These materials are also not built to withstand the wear and tear of mascots.