On Being a Mascot

Today I am going to talk on a topic a little outsides of my normal discussion of travel, culture, and history. But that’s the nice thing about a blog. It can be what you choose. I’m going to talk about my lessons from being a mascot. I volunteered at work to be a mascot for an event for several hours. I do this one a year; this was the second year. So enjoy.

  1. People assume it’s a man inside the costume. I knew this to be the case before I did it but it’s amazing how pervasive it is. Part of it is that people know the regular guys who are the mascot most of the year. Last year, a lot of people thought I was someone named Steve. This year, I got Luigi and Peter or Sam (I cannot remember which). Also, the mascot costume looks masculine (you should see my pecs) so I think that adds the belief. But I kinda dig it. I like playing with people’s expectations. Granted, there is no big reveal at the end but I get a nice warm feeling inside that I’ve fooled a bunch of people into thinking I’m Luigi or Steve.
  2. You are surprising limber in the costume. I don’t know if it is just the one at my job but the costume is light for what it is. I can strut, bounce on my feet, run down the hall to high-5 people.
  3. It really gets hot in there. Normally, I have a high tolerance of heat. I’ve worn full Victorian outfits, bustle and petticoats, at high noon in 90 degree weather in July. That didn’t phase me. However, mascot work is very physically taxing. From my experience last year, I learned to wear only shorts (no leggings!), no glasses (they fog up), and definitely a sweat band to keep some sweat from my eyes. I took longer breaks for water and food. It helped reduce the flush that I feel for the rest of the day.
  4. It’s neat to see how popular culture trends play out. This year, I had several people take selfies with me. Last year, not a single person did. Sadly, no pictures with puppies this year.
  5. One of my favorite parts is showing up unexpected. I love creeping up to people in my costume. Okay, there is an element of glee when you spook someone. I won’t lie. (Though in a fun, happy way, I don’t want to make anyone upset). Last year, we got to spend sometime in the taller buildings with elevator banks.  I’d position myself in front of the elevator doors (in the elevator). People would jump a little when the doors opened. Then they’d be willing conspirators when the doors would open next. It was the best.
  6. Vision is terrible. There is some mesh in the mouth area that is the only sightlines. But it’s limited. The mask does slip as time goes on so your vision gets more and more impaired. I may have missed a few High-5s due to lack of peripheral vision and may have run into a column…. Also, the sightlines would make it even harder to do an act in a costume on the tightwire. It’d be hard to spot!
  7. Inevitably, there will be a weird encounter each time. Last year, I had some guys from the basketball team who made fun of the fact that I couldn’t jump up to High-5 them. (I do pretty well with height but this was a bit steep for me). This year, someone wanted to take a picture of me through the mouth mesh. I’m cool with pictures but this was not okay. I managed to squirm out of the shot. Later, he came back and said, “I don’t know about you.” And then I think he asked me if I was Jewish. Yeah…that was weird.
  8. Everything is more epic in a mascot costume. Given the size of the costume, anything you do looks pretty amazing: High-5ing people, doing silly dances, and more. And you haven’t strutted until you do it in a giant costume.

That’s all for now. Until next year.


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