Top 4 Things to Consider When Shopping for a Mascot Head
Here’s What You Need to Know About Buying a Mascot Head
Mascot heads come in many shapes and sizes, and just as many different materials and levels of quality. The type of mascot you ultimately purchase will depend on a number of factors – budget, type of character required, safety, comfort and performer experience. As with any other type of purchase, these old sayings hold true here as well – ‘Buyer Beware’ and ‘You Get What You Pay For’. It’s a wise move to keep those things in mind during the decision-making process.
Whether you’re considering a custom mascot or an off-the-shelf product, it’s wise to familiarize yourself with some of the features and options available so you know you are getting a product that’s going to suit your purposes and make the most of your investment.
The Base Material
Good quality mascots heads are made from a base structure of non-porous foam, closed-cell foam or molded plastic. The most commonly used materials are etha foam, plastizote and styrene. In days gone by, many mascot makers used fiberglass which is long lasting and easy to keep clean, but it can off-gas for a long time and is heavy. It’s also difficult and costly to repair. Most mascot builders have transitioned to using lighter weight materials today. Without exception, stay away from upholstery foam or similar craft foams. These foams trap moisture and bacteria which encourages mould and mildew. Upholstery foam also breaks down quicker than specialty foam products. Mascot heads of lesser quality may even be made from styrofoam, which is also fragile and virtually impossible to repair. You may want to consider other accessories to help you stay cool in costume that will work in conjunction with a fan.
A fan inside the head is entirely optional, but most people seem to want one because they think it will keep them cool. This is true to a point, although we prefer to call them ventilation fans, rather than cooling fans. The important thing to note is that the fan is really just designed to exchange stale air for fresh. Ideally, the fan in the head will be removable and reversible so you can either draw in fresh air, or vent out warm air. A fan that runs on a standard 9 Volt battery will be a good balance between having enough power but create minimal noise in the head. The most obvious advantage of having a removable fan is that it can be repaired or replaced without having to ship the entire head back to your mascot maker. Larger fans with more complicated power packs are too heavy to carry around and more complicated to fix. If you want to do as the pros, you will forego the fan. Professional grade costumes typically do not have fans and experienced performers prefer not to use them.
Whether your mascot head has an adjustable helmet (preferred) or simply an opening blocked out of foam, it should have padding that can be easily removed and washed. Removable padding is a basic step in keeping the mascot clean. The helmet padding will absorb most of the perspiration so it’s important to be able to wash it, especially if different people will be wearing the costume. Your mascot company should also be able to provide you with different thicknesses of padding, as everyone’s head size is different so along with the adjustment on the helmet, being able to customize the padding will make the wearing more comfortable.
If you’re able, inspect the fabric covering on the outside of the head, particularly at the seams or ask the mascot company. The seams should be as discreet as possible, i.e. not right down the middle of the face and they should be sewn, not glued. Sewn seams are stronger and allow for the seams to become almost invisible depending on the type of fabric and if done properly. Fabric that is only glued down on the head will eventually start of peel away as the glue drys out over time with normal wear and tear. Also, in hotter environments, the glue can actually soften with heat or direct sunlight and will cause the outer layer to lift off the base of the head.
Still have questions or concerns about your mascot purchase? We’re always happy to help, so contact us anytime!