Tips for Communicating With Your Mascot Handler

One of the most important elements of a great mascot performance lies in your ability to communicate without actually speaking. In order to maintain the illusion that comes with portraying your unique character, you must never speak – and that includes all communication you have with your mascot handler!
There are also several practical reasons as to why a mascot performer does not speak. Speaking through a mascot head can sound very muffled and become difficult to understand for your audience. Additionally, you may have several individuals performing as the same mascot with different voices, so keeping things silent allows for more consistency among performers.
Since speaking is a no-go, it’s essential that you work out special signals with your handler before you head out to your next performance. Your signals should blend seamlessly with your character’s range of movements – only your mascot handler should know exactly what you are trying to say, and they should not draw too much attention from your audience.
Before you begin your next performance, make sure both you and your escort clearly understand the meanings behind your communication signals and your next steps if you happen to make one of these signals. Take the time to practice them with your mascot costume on to ensure they are clear enough for your handler to see, but not completely out of context in a performance setting.
Work together to create signals to communicate:

  • When you’d like to take a time out for a bathroom or water break
  • Times when you may feel overheated and need a rest from your costume
  • To indicate when you feel unsafe or threatened by an audience member
  • A general signal for when there is an issue of another kind and you need to get to a safe area

Talk about what will happen if you make one of these signals. Will your handler take you to a private space, explaining to the audience that your character needs a rest? As long as you have a process to handle unexpected situations, you can go into any performance feeling comfortable and prepared.
Effectively communicating while in costume can be simple once you’ve properly established signals with your mascot handler. Remember, your signals don’t have to be complicated or overly obvious. A simple thumbs up or down is all it takes to inform your escort that something is wrong. Practice together to discover what works best for you to ensure all performances are safe, and fun!
For more mascot safety tips, visit our Mascot Safety Page, or stay tuned to our blog for more performance tips!