How to Make a Mascot Costume

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People just can't help but get into the spirit of a game when there's a costumed mascot cavorting on the sidelines. However, professional mascot costumes can carry an exorbitant price tag. Your school, league or organization can save a lot of money if you make the costume yourself.

Things You'll Need

  • Styrofoam blocks and carving tools
  • Fur material for animal costumes
  • Newspaper, flour and water to create papier maché
  • Commercial pattern for human character costumes
  • Sewing machine and supplies
  • Vintage pattern or jumpsuit for animal costumes
  • Glue
  • Balloon or beach ball

Design and Construct a Mascot Costume

  • Choose the simplest possible design. Creating a knight in armor on an attached horse is beyond most amateur capabilities. A basic head piece and one- or two-piece suit can be modified to create many different mascots.

  • Start with a round head, which can be created by layering papier maché over a balloon or beach ball. Muzzles, snouts, noses and other elements can be created by carving styrofoam blocks and gluing them on. Spray the inside of the head with acrylic coating so the papier maché doesn't soften with moisture.

  • Find patterns for human character costumes such as king, barbarian, pirate, wizard or cowboy in sewing catalogs available in any fabric store and many crafts centers.

  • Make your own fursuit. Patterns for animal costumes are hard to come by. Find a vintage pattern at Patterns from the Past (see Resources below). Use the pattern as a guide, increasing the size as needed.

  • Start with a purchased jumpsuit and glue pieces of foam, use hula hoops or otherwise modify the form if you want something other than a basic fursuit. Glue or sew appropriate fabric over the form.

  • Visit a costume shop for elements such as animal feet that are difficult to make.

  • Get more tips on creating mascot costumes from "Critter Costuming: Making Mascots and Fabricating Fursuits" by Adam Rigg, available at Amazon.com (see Resources below).

Tips & Warnings

  • It's much easier to create a costume that represents a human character than one for an animal. If your choice is between Jean LaFitte and a crocodile, go for the pirate!
  • Take every opportunity to provide ventilation for the performer. Mascot costumes are hot, and the performer will be very active.
  • Before you finish the head piece, have several people of different sizes try it on to be sure that performers will have unobstructed vision.

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