Remember, remember the 5th of November. If you’re planning to hold your own display then it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the rules and regulations for firework use. The government has issued a handy checklist for those planning to put on a display at home, including what to look out for when buying fireworks and how to properly dispose of them
It’s important when having your own Bonfire Night party to consider how young children will feel about the noisy and potentially chaotic atmosphere. Babies and very young children may find fireworks frightening (as do most pets) and you may need to stay indoors with them, perhaps watching through a window.
To plan a grand Guy Fawkes’ night at home we spoke to Rebecca at the UK’s leading party company, Party Pieces for her top home hosting tips.
Top tips for hosting a sparkling Bonfire Night at Home
- Safety First
Remember safety is the first most important aspect to hosting a bonfire party. Plan ahead where you will build your bonfire, keeping it a safe distance from any trees, fences or buildings. Make sure you plan where your spectators will be and make it as clear as possible with tape or rope. Once you have the safety side locked down you’ll feel much more relaxed and ready to party.
READ MORE HERE >> 10 Bonfire Night Safety Tips for Families
- Keep in the Heat
As obvious as it sounds, temperatures can drop suddenly around the beginning of November and it is surprising just how cold it can be standing outdoors long after the sun goes down. Light layers in breathable fabrics work really well for adults and sensitive-skinned children as they can be added and removed easily and should prevent any stuffiness or overheating. Try Smalls, Perfect Moment and Reima for stylish base layers.
- Easy Food
Party food that only requires one hand is always the best for outdoor events like this. It means guests can hold a warming drink like hot chocolate or mulled wine in the other hand! Opt for handheld snacks like burgers and hotdogs; they’re so popular and can be placed on these food trays making them much easier to eat! Serve seasonal pumpkin or butternut squash soup in small stainless steel mugs or, child-friendly insulated food flasks which are also great for holding some warming chilli con carne or ‘frank and beans’. Small cupcakes, portions of seasonal apple pie and of course toffee apples all make great sweet options. You could also set up a small S’mores station for toasting marshmallows.
- Beware the Bangs
One of the lesser known health hazards associated with Bonfire Night is the potential for hearing damage to sensitive young eardrums. All of those pops and bangs associated with Guy Fawkes’ folly can actually cause lasting damage, say the British Tinnitus Association (BTA), who warn that a single bang from a firework in close proximity can permanently damage hearing and lead to tinnitus.
In order to avoid any damage to your children’s ears, the BTA recommends not standing too close to the display, limiting the amount of time you spend in proximity to loud noises and also investing in a pair of ear plugs or noise reducing headphones.
- Keep the Kids Entertained
Not all children will want to watch the fireworks closely; they’re very noisy and can be frightening for younger guests (see above). Set up an area a fair distance from the fireworks where children can play together, perhaps you could set up craft activities where they can create pictures of their very own fireworks, make rocket garlands make lanterns out of paper cups and LED tea lights or, decorate ready made biscuits with bright colours.
Think traditional seasonal games like classic apple bobbing – just set up a big bowl with apples and have plenty of towels close by, doughnut on a string game is fun too (pick ring doughnuts onto a long piece string and attached to the pole or tree and then they a race to see who can eat the doughnut from the string (without hands!) the fastest or, you could grab a pile of conkers and play covers or have a conker tournament.
Glow sticks, glowing balloons and bracelets are also very popular with children on bonfire night; they make it easy for you to keep an eye on them in the dark too. You could also all gather around for a seasonal storytime and tell the tale of Guy Fawkes.
- Sparkle, Sparkle
Small sparklers are a great introduction to fireworks for children, but they can be many parents biggest source of worry on Guy Fawkes Night. We have all heard the horror stories of what can happen when safety precautions are not taken, but it is actually very simple to ensure a happy evening is had by all. Children who want to use sparklers should always be supervised, it’s a good idea to wear thick gloves and dispose of them in a bucket of sand or water afterwards, and children under five should never handle sparklers by themselves.
HOT TIP: Put the metal part of the sparkler in a carrot to protect children’s hands. As carrots do not conduct heat, and are easier to hold than a thin piece of metal and allow the sparkler to be held further away from the body and at arm’s length.
- Everyone Chip In
Fireworks aren’t cheap and if they are they’re probably not the best… instead of spending a fortune on rockets and candles ask your guests to bring one firework per family. It’s always such fun trying to work out which firework is yours when it comes to the big display. This rule can all apply to the food. You could do a bonfire night pot-luck and everyone brings a one-pot dish, some barbecue food, snacks or desserts.
- Set a Theme
Set an exciting theme for you bonfire party to make it remembered for years to come. I love the idea of a funfair themed bonfire party with quirky stands for your tasty treats and funfair games or, you could do a colour theme and come dressed in red, yellow and orange. Although, we don’t advise fancy dress outfits near fireworks.