Costumed characters can make a little ones birthday celebration extra special. The look on their face when they see their favorite character come to life is priceless. But, you can never be too careful when selecting a performer - especially when you are inviting them into your home to spend the day with your children.

That's why we talked to some of our top costumed character performers to get their advice on how to select the right professional for your event. Here's what they wanted to share:

1. Check their credentials- TC Special Entertainment 4 U  (Buffalo, NY) suggests that a client looking to book a costumed character should ask a few key questions when they are interested in a specific performer:

  • Are you insured?
  • Do you have references?
  • How long have you been doing this?
  • Do you have testimonials from past clients?

  My Dream Visits (Philadelphia, PA) adds that a client should find out if "the company does background checks on the people who work for them." This is extremely important - as you want to know that the performers playing the characters have passed a background check. The more precautions a company takes - the better.

 2. Get the scoop on their characters and costumes- My Dream Visits advises that the client should also ask many questions about the characters and costumes offered. They suggest that clients should ask the performer, "What characters they have, what their characters do and what type of costumes they use. Sometimes companies use Halloween costumes - which will not show a character at its best. They should be using professional costumes that were designed to hold up over time." Happily Ever Laughter Parties (Fremont, CA) also had some thoughts on costume specific concerns that clients should look into - "Ask questions about the company's policy regarding costume maintenance. Ask the company if they have exact photos of the costume (and even performer, if possible), so you know who/what will be arriving!"

3. Consider event details- Even though you (or your child's) heart may be set on a certain character; there are other factors you should consider before booking.  Think about the details of your event and how a costumed character would fit into your plans. Bubbles Production (Bowie, MD) suggests a few things to consider:

  • Where is the event being held? If it is going to be outdoors during the heat of summer, it might not be a very good idea to have someone in a very hot costume for longer than 15 minutes or so.
  • Indoor settings are usually best, but outdoors can be fine as long as the weather permits and there is an area that the character can stand that will not get the bottom of the costume dirty or soiled.
  • Will your venue (if not your home), allow outside entertainment? Most places do, however there are some places like Chuck E. Cheese that do not allow outside characters.
  • Will there be enough space for the character to interact with guests properly? There does not need to be a very large space, but just enough for the character to be able to dance freely and for the children to gather around the character and dance too.

  4. Think about your child-Make sure you consider your child's personality when hiring a costumed character. The performer will want to know about the birthday child, and what he/she likes. Before booking you will want to discuss what you expect from the performer at the event. Bubbles Production has some great advice for parents, "If your child doesn't do well with a lot of attention on him/her, make sure to let the performer know not to give too much attention directly to the child. You don't want your special birthday boy/girl to feel uncomfortable." The performer could still put on a great show, without singling out the birthday child too much. On the other hand, if you want the costumed character to show your child with attention, you should let the performer know that as well.

5. Trust your gutCharacters (Boston, MA) makes a great point in saying, "Find someone you feel good working with. Your performer should be someone that is knowledgeable, understands what you want, offers suggestions, offers fair pricing, provides a contract and is professional."
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Remember, if you need help finding a costumed character, you can reach our Customer Experience Team by calling 866-342-9794 or email info@gigmasters.com. Are you a costumed character that wants to book more gigs? Sign up with GigMasters today. If you leave a comment below we'll even send you a special discount for a new GigMasters membership.

What other tips do you have for hiring a costumed character for an event?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.