Hot and Sweaty in the Mascot
Mascot performing is a hot, sweaty job. This is not ground-breaking news. Probably the most asked question of performers while in costume is, “You must be hot in there, huh?” or “How hot are you in that?” The typical sports fan or event attendee can only imagine how hot it gets inside a costume. And the performer inside certainly doesn’t need to be reminded of just how hot they feel!
How hot does it actually get inside a mascot costume?
There are claims of temperatures as high as 140 degrees on various websites, but there doesn’t appear to be actual hard data.
To answer this question, we need to gather some real data. The kind of data that we gather matters too. It would be possible to simply place a small ambient thermometer inside a mascot costume with a performer inside. And we could record the ambient temperature after 20 minutes, both with the performer at rest and with the performer very active. It also would be prudent to gather ambient temperature with the performer indoors (72°F) and outside on a hot day (+80°F).
However, the ambient temperature, both outside AND inside of the suit, does not give us a sense of what it feels like for the performer. It also doesn’t tell the whole story of the physical toll the heat takes on the performer.
Heat & Humidity inside the Mascot
The measurement established by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, which OSHA uses for workplace safety, is the wet-bulb globe temperature. It measures temperature, humidity, wind speed, and visible and infrared radiation to give the perceived temperature a person is experiencing. Anyone who lives in a humid state will tell you that the temperature alone doesn’t tell you how it feels.
Can we get WBGT (wet-bulb globe temperature) inside of a mascot suit with a performer? With some real data in hand, we could begin to establish protocols for the length of time in costume and the length of breaks for performers that are hard to refute.
A modern wet-bulb globe thermometer
We are starting a quest for that kind of data. More to come in the days and weeks ahead…
©Nick Carpenter/ National Mascot Association 2019