Bonfire night is a great excuse for a party. It's fun for all the family and really easy to prepare for. If you're planning a get-together at your home this bonfire night, read on to discover some essential ideas to enhance any get-together. Once you're done, your guests won't need a rhyme to remember how great your party was.
If you're going to throw a bonfire party, it's worth knowing what you're celebrating. More than four hundred years ago, a group of men led by Robert Catesby attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament with barrels of gunpowder stashed in the basement. Their aim was to kill the whole parliament; in particular, King James I, after hopes of securing greater religious tolerance had faded. A man called Guy Fawkes was given the all important task of lighting the fuse.On the morning of the 5th November 1605, Fawkes was discovered by soldiers along with the gunpowder and promptly shipped off to the Tower of London, never to come out again. To celebrate his survival, James I ordered the people of England to gather around a great bonfire on the 5th November. A tradition that we still do today.
Autumn is such a beautiful time of year, so let nature do the decorating work for you. Fairy lights, candles and lanterns will help to enhance your garden's natural beauty as well as create a cosy ambiance. Create a circle of chairs, cushions or even logs and set up a table to one side for drinks and food. We love the idea of adding glow sticks to different coloured jars to help light the way around the site.
No Guy Fawkes party is complete without a blazing bonfire. Choose the site of your fire carefully. It should be far away from any fences, buildings and trees, and sheltered enough from any gusts of wind. Start by digging a shallow pit for your fire to sit in - a few inches will be deep enough. Then place a layer of charcoal on the bottom with a ring of stones, bricks or heavy logs around the edge of the pit to keep the fire inside.Next, enlist some happy helpers to gather kindling such as twigs, bark, grass and dried leaves. Make sure everything is bone dry, otherwise it won't light. Place the larger bits of wood into a teepee shape, then fill in the gaps with everything else. Leave one or two spaces though so oxygen can still get in.Once your teepee is complete, it's time to set it alight. Matches will be enough to get things raging, just make sure you have a couple of buckets of water nearby (you know, just in case).
(Please take extra care when doing this, and keep the bonfire away from Children and pets)
Bonfire parties are an outdoor affaire, but even when you've got a roaring fire going things can get a little bit chilly. Gather together as many blankets as you can find, then pop them into a box so your guests can help themselves. Mmm, snuggly.
If you're planning to have fireworks at your party, then you need to set up a designed fireworks area. There also needs to be one person who is the official firework-setter-offer (you can come up with a better name if you like). It's dark at 6pm nowadays so there's no need to wait until late to get things going. An alternative is to organise your party around a professional fireworks display. Friends can gather at yours early on, and then you can all go to the event together. Afterwards, its back to yours for food, merriment and marshmallows on sticks.
Whether you're six or sixty, everyone loves sparklers. There are great photo opportunities to be had, especially when using them to spell out (family friendly) words. Make sure everyone is wearing gloves and keep a bucket of cold water on hand to dunk used sparklers in.
Most of us will have tried toasting a marshmallow on a stick, but why not take things to the next level and have a go at s'mores? Popular with our friends across the pond, you take the humble marshmallow – toasted - and place it between two biscuits with a hefty dollop of chocolate. Yum! Check out the tutorial at Whats Cooking America for a step-by-step guide to making the perfect s'more.
There's no better drink on a cold evening than a steaming cup of hot chocolate. It's warming, filling and makes you feel happy inside (well, it is chocolate based after all). Plus, there are a hundred and one different recipes out there to try, from salted caramel, to pumpkin spiced. Thanks to buzzfeed for putting together a list of some of the most mouth-watering recipes. Once you've got the recipe nailed, why not take things even further by creating a hot chocolate station on the night itself? Put out bowls of sprinkles, marshmallows – even some squirty cream –and let your guests add their own toppings.
If you're going to serve food at your party, it needs to be informal and easy to eat. Soup is just perfect for such an occasion. Better yet, use your leftover pumpkins from Halloween and create some delicious pumpkin soup. Simply boil the flesh until tender. Add some chilli powder, coriander, garlic and pepper, then blend until smooth. Pour in a can of coconut milk, simmer for a few minutes and serve. Simple, nutritious and nothing gets wasted.
Care for your pets
Remember, not everyone in the family is a fan of loud noises. Animals with acute hearing can get very scared when the bangs start happening. Bring hutches and cages inside into a quiet room or shed (or if you can't do that, at least cover them with a blanket). Dogs and cats should be kept inside when the fireworks are happening. Close the curtains and prepare a snug space in which they can hide during the display. Turning the TV on will help drown out the noise of the fireworks.