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COSTUMES 101
So you've just been selected to be a mascot. CONGRATULATIONS! Here are a
few basics most mascots share so you won't burn out the first time you give this
craft a try...

Preparation:
If you can see the costume before the event try it on and practice. Figure out how
the costume is put on, sometimes there are instructions.
Put the head on and adjust any chinstraps or headstraps. Wear light clothes.
A t-shirt, shorts, socks, and a sweatband/bandana are needed to change into and
change out of. Make sure you have dry clothes for after the event!
BE AWARE OF:
...any part of your body that might be peeking out of the costume.
...any part that seems ready to fall off, a tail, a torn arm, a ripped ear.
...Every hook has an eye! If you look long enough you'll find the clasp!
...If there are holes in the costume or dirt/stains on it make sure you notify the
owner BEFORE you put it on.
...If there are holes or stains AFTER the event make sure you know whether
you must clean
it or if you may be billed for the damage.

BE AWARE OF WET COSTUMES
Viruses and diseases are passed through bodily fluids. Costumes are breeding
grounds for viruses. If you can't get a dry costume spray it down with End-Bac
or another anti-bacterial agent. Febreeze is good for trapping smells, but it
does not kill germs that humans can pass to one another. Once you spray a
costume down give it a chance to air out the chemicals
before you put it on, so you don't asphyxiate.

DO NOT COVER YOURSELF WITH ANTI-PERSPIRANT
You need to sweat in the costume to regulate your body temperature.

DO NOT LET ANYONE SEE YOU CHANGE!!!
Part of the beauty of this
craft is the mystery of the actor. Before your event seek out a clean private
room where you can change and store your clothes, keys and wallet. You
should be able to retreat there in the case of a possible emergency!!

Adjustments:
My costume head falls off:
If there is a collar on the head then tuck the
collar into the shirt. If there is no shirt use safety pins to secure the collar
to the body. Some costumes have helmets and chinstraps. Make sure
they are adjusted to your needs. If there is no collar and no chinstrap try
and change your motions to keep the head from losing balance.
My hands slip out of the costume gloves: use rubber bands at the wrist,
or sweat wristbands (that match the color of your shirt) to give you a snug fit.
My hands are too big for the costume gloves: you can probably supply
your own gloves in this case. Batting gloves add a nice grip. Top them off
with a wristband to hide human skin.
The costume legs are too long: Large safety pins can be used to hem the
length of the pants. Pin from the inside!
The costume legs are too short: Wear knee-high socks OR find a pair of
hockey socks and slouch them to cover the bare skin.
The costume feet too big for my feet: Layers of socks OR try inserting
your own sneakers into the shoe.
WOMEN TAKE NOTE: 99.9% of costumes are made to fit men!!!
The character's feet are too small for my feet: Don't squeeze your feet
into them. Simply wear a comfortable pair of sneakers with the costume.
I simply cannot fit into the costume body! Talk to the owner about
wearing a sweatsuit with the costume head, hands and feet.
When you're done:
Pull the costume inside out. Hang the costume (from a shower curtain
bar). If you have one, place a fan on the costume overnight. Wipe out the
inside of the head with a soft cloth and warm soapy water (or a fifty-fifty
solution of water and alcohol) to keep the head smelling fresh.
Do not use perfumes or deodorants on the mascot costume. These
substances can damage or discolor the fabric and irritate other performers,
(who also may have to use the costume), with allergies or sensitivities.
CLEANING TIPS:
If your mascot should become dirty try an upholstery or rug cleaner to
clean the fur-covered areas only.
  Many costume companies suggest
mascot costumes should be dry-
cleaned only. 
Check with the
producers to make sure you are using the right
treatments on your
costume.
Clean the mascot with a damp cloth. Portable stain removers, such as
Shout wipes, are handy for small stain emergencies. 

The sooner any stain is treated, the easier it will come out.

Check the mascot costume over for wear and tear after each use. 
Are all zippers working?
Are any seams coming apart?...or other holes
starting to show?
How does the head look?
By keeping up to date on
repairs, you will keep your mascot costume
in prime condition for a
long time.
It is recommended that an  inspection and cleaning of your mascot
costume be completed at least once a month, more frequently if you

have a busy event performance schedule. This maintenance program

preserves the costume in the optimal condition for long life and
provide
a much more pleasant environment for performers that are
busy and actively performing at event.


CAUTION: Do not wear mascot heads in the presence of fire, sm
oke,
while driving a vehicle or using dangerous equipment. 
Your v
ision and hearing will be impaired.

Mascot Acting 101:  The Elements

The most important thing to remember when you're first starting out as a
mascot is that your human identity will be set aside. Therefore you
have the opportunity to act as something or someone you're not. This
is not a suggestion for causing trouble, but it is a chance for you to
portray an ideal character, devoid of faults. Remember that every act,
even small, will be watched by every age, whether you realize it or not.
Make sure your act doesn't get you in trouble!!!

The Three E's of Mascotting (from some old UCA training):

Entrance: Set your mark, whether it's at a football game or a store
opening, with a big entrance. Let people know that you've arrived
in style. Huge flags, confetti showers, series of flips, or setting off
a noisemaker grabs attention. If your budget or environment
doesn't lend itself to that consider banging on the door you enter
before opening it. Stomping on the floor, or letting your shoes rap
hard andloud against the tiles. Wave your arms.
Most of all, grab that attention!

Exaggeration: You're in a huge costume, wearing huge feet,
a huge head, and needing a huge ego to fill out the costume.
You need to double or even triple the actions you would normally
do so your costume doesn't hide what you're doing. Walking is
usually suggested as a march, try not to drag your feet, but pick them
up off the ground. A smooth wobble, a jump in your step, a fluid
angry prowl, or even a child-like bounce adds character to your
steps. If you're waving to thousands make sure the guy in the
upper row can see you. Use your whole body.

Emotion: Think about how emotional sporting events can get.
Practice a number of emotions- happy, sad, angry, scared, excited
in front of a mirror with your head on. Learn where the facial
features of your costume are and use them the way a human
(or animal) would. Once you've gotten down some emotions
using your head and arms try and use the rest of your body as
well. Shivering, slow motion, trudging feet, tantrums, kowtowing,
jumping up and down, skipping and elation are great emotions to
try. And remembering that the costume will hide a lot of your
gestures, make sure you exaggerate!

Erin's Two E's (Just an added touch!):
Elevation: Mascots are expected to be larger than life. But the
person making them animated should remember that differences
in elevation will be more effective than one who uses slight
variations in elevation. Rocket science? No. This is what it
means: to get higher elevation, try some things on your toes.
Peer down at children. Jump. Climb on something (sturdy,
of course.) To get lower elevation, slide. Kneel. Lay down.
Lunge. Fall unexpectedly. If you keep in mind that you are
doing a little of both it will add to your animation.

Energy: Mascots aren't expected to run out of gas before they're
done. if you're starting out DON'T GO CRAZY. Pace yourself.
 If you do run out of breath and
you can't get to the changing room, move to a chair or a bench
and use your arms to keep your motions going while you catch
your breath. Don't feel like you have to be Daffy Duck
(high-strung) throughout the game. Remember, Bugs
Bunny got credit for keeping cool and he had the last laugh!

MOST OF ALL:
Treat people with respect. You can't win everyone over, and
you should never expect to.
Remember everyone has a different reason for being at a store,
a game or a promotion.
Sometimes respectfully walking away makes a bigger impression
on a "non fan" than pressing the issue.
The more respect you give the more respect you get back.
Spotlight Blog:

Critter Crossing
Mascot Ministry

Tryout and Audition Information:
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