Costume characters are an incredibly powerful tool to use your in your kidmin, but they can also cause problems if not used properly.

They can be unruly:  Even as the pastor (especially as the pastor), I often have to keep myself from getting carried away.  Goofiness to teach a lesson or make a point is fine.  Goofiness for the sake of goofiness is tough to justify. 

They can be long-winded:  Give yourself an out!  I’ve seen these interactions go way longer than they should because the people up front were having too much fun and didn’t know how to stop.  Leave the audience wanting more.  Nine times out of ten, the most awkward part of a costume character interaction is the ending (that statistic is totally made up and cannot be backed up by empirical evidence, but it is more of an observation based on my personal experiences in kidmin).  See what I did there, I just kept going and you really just want me to stop.  I’m still going because I didn’t carefully decided how this section would end.  Seriously, move to the next point now so I can shut up.

Be careful of offensive stereotypes:  I’ve got to get this one out there.  I have no problem with over-the-top personalities.  Most television shows and sitcoms are based on them.  I do, however, have a problem with offensive stereotypes.  A good character is so outrageous they don’t fit in reality anyway, but this is one area that you really need to know your audience and be careful.  The last thing you want is someone to miss the message because they were offended by the medium.  The more over-the-top your character is, the safer you will be in this area.

They can be scary: I have especially seen this with younger kids.  Seeing someone they know in a costume really freaks some kids out.  Just know this ahead of time and don’t approach a scared child.  That will only freak them out more.  Oftentimes, characters can be loud or crazy, these things too can be troublesome to younger children, so know your audience and don’t force something that isn’t there.

They can reinforce bad behaviors: A costume character is funny, over-the-top, and often misses the point, but bad behavior is bad behavior and must be corrected.  It’s important that a costume character learns good lessons, but doesn’t teach bad ones. 

What other drawbacks are there to using a costume character?  How have you seen them used improperly?