Bonfire Night is the perfect seasonal excuse for some family fun. The smell of bonfire, vibrant firework colours in the night sky and toffee apples washed down with hot chocolate, what's not to love?
There are many organised displays you can attend for the biggest, most impressive fireworks, or you can take a walk up a nearby high spot to take in many fireworks at the same time. However, if you’d rather celebrate at home with your family and friends, we have some Bonfire Night safety advice to keep you safe and to get more from your night.
Bonfire Night Set Up
If you’re planning on activities in your garden, making sure that’s prepared is the first step. Remove any rubbish, debris or autumnal leaves so everything is clear. Mark a set area away from fences, sheds or trees if you plan to do a bonfire or fireworks.
If you have little ones (or over excited adults), it is probably worth putting a little bit of a barrier in place to stop them wondering where it isn’t safe. You’ll also want a few buckets of water for sparklers, or just on hand for if you have any problems with your fireworks or fire.
It’s not necessary, but it’s a nice move if you can give neighbours a heads up if you’re planning on celebrating Bonfire Night at home, and let them know there may be additional noise. If they are vulnerable, have small children or are pet owners, a small heads up could go a long way to making sure they can enjoy their night too.
Don't forget to wrap up warm too. Though you are at home, it’s still November, and if you are going to be out in the garden, it will be chilly.
Fireworks at home are a big responsibility, and there should be a number of safety checks in place. Always remember that only adults should be dealing with the fireworks, and they are best kept in a closed metal box until needed. When you are lighting the fireworks, do so in a safe area, making sure to light them at arm's length, and never go back to a firework once it has been lit.
Make sure to keep an eye on the time too, and don’t let any fireworks off between 11pm and 7am.
If you’re choosing to not do fireworks this year, you could look at some other alternatives such as confetti cannons or giant bubble wands. Still giving something for your family to look forward to, without the big bangs.
As mentioned earlier, make sure your fire is away from sheds, fences and trees, and not beneath any cables. You’ll also want a suitable barrier so that no one finds themselves too close.
If you set up your bonfire ahead of time, be sure to check before lighting that no animals have made the wood their home. Hedgehogs in particular love to hide in garden debris, so a quick check is always worthwhile.
If you want the bonfire feel with a little less danger (and hassle), a fire pit or chiminea is a more manageable alternative, and can be accommodated in most gardens. Though you should still consider a safety barrier.
Sparklers can make for a lot of fun and great photographs, but still pose a risk. If you are looking to have sparklers for children, make sure to light them one at a time, and supervise the child whilst in use.
Children should always wear gloves to protect their hands from burning when holding a sparkler, and any child under 5 should not be using a sparkler at all.
Glow sticks are a far safer alternative, still make for a lot of fun photos, and they last a lot longer than a sparkler. You could also look even further than this, and have lawn games set up (giant connect four with glow in the dark pieces anyone?).
Pet Safety on Bonfire Night
Bonfire Night can be scary for a lot of pets, as they struggle to understand the sudden loud noises, and you should do all you can to make sure your pet is safe and comfortable.
For dogs, getting a good walk in during the day can help. Before the evening, you’ll want to make sure that any pets are safely locked inside the house before the fireworks get started. Keeping your windows and doors locked, as well as drawing any curtains, and putting a TV or radio on will help to limit the sound of fireworks.
It may be worth making an extra safe space for your pet to hide in if they wish to (or making their normal spot more comfy). If your pet is up to it, extra cuddles and love is the way to go. But, if they are frightened and hiding, as long as they are safe just give them some space.
Bonfire Night Activities
Now, you know how to celebrate safely, let’s get on to the fun things to do on Bonfire Night at home and the tasty food you can enjoy!
If you’re looking for family friendly activities to do over the bonfire weekend, there are so many fun things that don’t involve fireworks or fire.
Craft wise, why not find out the paint and create some paint splatter fireworks, or hand print volcanos? All very seasonal, and something you can enjoy for longer than the weekend. Or, if you’re going to be using glow sticks in the evening, why not have fun creative glow bracelets and necklaces in the day?
If you’re feeling really creative, why not create a ‘Guy Fawkes’ or scarecrow. You don’t necessarily need to have a bonfire to burn him on, just enjoy creating, clothing and decorating him.
Bonfire Night Food
Some of the best bits about the cold nights is the warm, tasty food you can enjoy. There are so many great Bonfire Night food choices, and we’ve provided some easy recipes to get you started.
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 20g butter
- 6 red onions
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
- 560g jar hot dogs
- 4 white hot dog rolls
- Chop the onions finely. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat.
- Add in the onions and fry for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Increase to a high heat and add in the sugar and mustard until they begin caramelising.
- Cook the hot dogs as instructed on the packaging.
- Slice the hot dog rolls down the middle and place a hot dog in the middle and then top with caramelised onions and your choice of sauce.
- Serve. Best enjoyed whilst you are wrapped up against the cold.
- 12 rich tea biscuits
- 12 marshmallows
- 6 squares of chocolate
- Skewer your marshmallows and melt over heat (this could be done over your fire pit if you are doing one).
- Scrape the marshmallow on to a biscuit.
- Add your chocolate on top of the marshmallow and finish with another biscuit on top.
- Serve and enjoy - though maybe have a few napkins handy as they can get messy.
Top Tip - To make it a bit more interactive for the family, you could have a ‘s’mores bar’. Have different choices of biscuits, marshmallows and chocolate available so that everyone can create their own ideal flavour.
For more information, the Bonfire Night safety website has lots of practical safety tips, along with a ton of useful information, all on a very cute and child friendly page.
From all of us at Jelson Homes, have a spectacular and safe Bonfire Night.