A few years ago, I took a break from radio and worked in the trampoline business. I was the General Manager for Sky Zone Evansville. Some of the super fun events that I planned required costumed characters.
I've always loved mascots and even dressing up and cosplaying, so this was basically a dream come true for me. I found an overseas company that sold very authentic-looking character costumes.
Sold Out Character Events
The Character Toddler Time was a huge hit! We sold out every event, so I was able to add to our character selection. Paw Patrol was a huge hit. The Christmas event featured Elf on the Shelf, Minion, Frozen, and Beauty and the Beast.
Luckily, The Powers Rangers never found out about this! I'm the Pink Ranger.
Cease and Desist
Things were going great until I added the PJ Masks. First of all, these costumes were amazingly accurate. They were the next big thing for toddlers. I would create Facebook events to promote the character times and share pics from past events. Well, I flew too close to the sun, and the creators of the PJ Masks sent me a cease and desist letter.
This wasn't just a one-page letter asking me to stop using the PJ Masks characters. This was basically a binder of legal speak that over-explained why I was receiving said cease and desist.
Is it Illegal to Use Costumed Characters?
Obviously, not everyone who purchases and wears an authentic-looking character costume doesn't get a cease and desist letter. However, if you are using the costume to earn a profit for a business, you should know that it is likely infringing on the copyright.
It is important to note that dressing up for Halloween or cosplay events does not fall into this category. Individuals or companies that produce and sell the extremely authentic costumes can be subject to legal action.