Perhaps you are new to the NEG. Maybe you've been around for a while but haven't been active. You might even be a seasoned veteran who is just looking for a good tip.
It doesn't matter why you are here, it just matters that you are!
Those of us who have been around for a while tend to take certain things for granted. This is where we put down in print all those little things we've learned, so that you don't have to make the same mistakes we have.
ALWAYS check your suit before an event. A good practice is to make a list of every single piece of the costume, from boots to bucket. Use that as a checklist going forward. The night before an event, take the suit out and run down the checklist. Is everything there? Even the little stuff, like gloves or the balaclava? No cracks, missing snaps, peeling velcro?
Now pack it up (and don't leave anything on the floor!)
Try to put together a repair kit specific to your suit. Stormtrooper? You need white duct tape. TIE Pilot? You'll want black. A hot glue gun and glue sticks makes for a great quick fixer. Same with super glue, and plumber's epoxy putty.
Make sure you don't have little parts that can fall off easily. Take the hand plates on a stormtrooper. If you have the plate attached to an elastic strap, glue the strap on with something like Goop, rather than using velcro. That way a stray handshake won't make you lose your armor.
Thing about where we are going, and what space we'll have to change when we get there. Many times we'll suit up in a parking lot, public restroom, or any number of other odd places. If your costume involves something like Under Armor (Stormtroopers, Clones, etc…), it may be worth putting the spandex on before you leave the house.
Make sure that you know the policy on weapons at an event! Some require weapons to be inspected / tagged, others don't allow them at all. Know what is OK before you get in trouble!
Don't point your weapons at anyone unless you are absolutely certain it's OK!
For instance, if someone says “point your gun at me for a picture” it's OK. It's never a good idea to point a gun at someone. You could scare the person, or get yourself hurt if someone overreacts!
If you have holstered weapons, try to be aware of them at all times. Kids will sometimes attempt to grab them from you. This is never good! If you are just standing in a spot, you might want to keep a hand on the gun or saber hilt. It makes you look ready for action, and ensures that no-one will walk off with your expensive prop!
ALWAYS CHECK THE BOARD BEFORE YOU LEAVE FOR AN EVENT!!!
No-one is going to call you to tell you that something has changed. There are just too many people, and we don't keep a database of member phone numbers anyway. There have been cases where the time changes, the event moves, or things get canceled all together. Sometimes we might not know about the changes until an hour before the troop. Save yourself a wasted trip!
Try to find the NEG point of contact and see what you need to do. Sometimes all you need to do is suit up and stand around. Other times there might be a specific need, like escort duty, a photo booth, or any number of other things.
If the NEG has a fan table and you are on duty there, your goal is to engage people - tell them who we are, what we are up to, etc… You've got to talk to visitors, not just sit and ensure that nothing is stolen.
If you aren't staffing the table, you shouldn't linger around the table for too long. If we're standing in front of it, visitors can't make it over. Don't be offended if the table staff tells you to go someplace else. The table is there for a reason and we don't want our own troopers to interfere with that!
It is always a good idea to keep some Aleve, Tylenol, or allergy medication handy. More then likely you are going to be a little sore from standing around for a few hours in hard plastic. Also, water, deoderant, and a hairbrush can come in handy as well.
Make sure to eat and drink a bit before you troop! You'll be sweating a lot more than you might expect, and we've had troopers get light headed / nearly pass out. You don't necessarily want an all-you-can-eat buffet before closing yourself into a plastic suit, but an energy bar and some water will do wonders!
Everyone was new at this once. If you aren't sure about how something looks, if you have a photo idea but don't know if it will be ok, ask. There is no such thing as a stupid question.
There are some additional things to be aware of when marching in a parade.
The NEG generally does not attempt to march in time / tight formation, but we do try to make a lineup and stick to it. If the parade leader puts you in a group, you should do your best to stay with your group. Try not to wander off / lose your place. If you do fall out of position for a photo op, please try to get back as quickly as possible.
Different costumes lend themselves better to different behaviors. Stormtroopers look great in an orderly, military looking group. Tusken raiders are great for wandering up and down the lines and working the crowd. Try to think about your character and what he/she would do!
Depending on the day, your helmet may want to fog up. Try to make sure to use some sort of anti-fog product on the lenses. Helmet fans help a lot! Another thing that helps is to leave a small gap around the lens. A full seal of adhesive isn't necessary, and that slight opening will never be seen from the outside.
You can also purchase some kind of 'goo' to put on the lenses sold for folks that ski or do winter hiking (“Cat Butt” is one brand). This is designed to prevent lenses from fogging and a tiny container does not cost a lot of money.
Watch out for horses! Our wranglers will attempt to block the path when a horse leaves us a present. Move around the wrangler, stay away til you are clear, then get back to your position.