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For many people, autumn is the perfect season. The changing leaves always look beautiful, and it can be a relief to escape the unrelenting heat of summer. We can wrap up in knitted clothing or under a blanket, clutching a cup of tea or hot chocolate. There’s also the promise of Christmas just around the corner!
One of the major events in autumn is bonfire night. Most of us know the story of Guy Fawkes, and his plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament. But these days, bonfire night is about fireworks, an open fire (if possible), and spending time with friends and family.
If you’re looking to host a bonfire night, and avoid the crowds of a public event, it’s a good idea to get things prepared ahead of time. We’ve outlined a few things to consider below!
What would bonfire night be without the bonfire? You might not have an outdoor space large enough to have a proper fire, but if this is the case, a firepit can work just as well. These come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and can not only provide a place to toast marshmallows, they also help set the right atmosphere for the evening.
A fire is also important if you want to be a bit more traditional – it’s common to burn a homemade Guy Fawkes. These are usually made of clothing stuffed with straw, but can be made of anything that’s safe to burn.
Besides the bonfire, the fireworks are the main event of the night, so it’s essential that you get these sorted well in advance! You might be surprised by how quickly certain shops sell out of some of the more popular ones. Just make sure you know what you’re doing with every firework you buy, like how to properly set them up!
Sparklers have also become increasingly popular, especially for younger children. Glowsticks and other glowing paraphernalia, such as headbands and bracelets, can be exciting for kids too.
If you’re having people over for bonfire night, you can’t expect them to be on their feet all evening. Outdoor chairs and other seating options are therefore a must. You might want to invest in quality outdoor furniture if you think you’re likely to host such events often in future. If not, you can just spread a few picnic blankets on the grass or ask friends and family to bring their own seating!
As there is always the risk of rain in Britain, it may also be sensible to invest in a gazebo to cover some or all of your garden. Decorating the gazebo in outdoor lighting, whether this is fairy lights wrapped around the poles or lanterns hanging up inside, can make for an enchanting ambience too.
With a fire comes marshmallows. Toasting marshmallows on bonfire night is something many of us remember doing when we were young, and is sure to delight children of all ages now! Other traditional sweet treats at this time of year include toffee apples and ginger cake, along with anything that will help warm you up a bit!
Bonfire night can also be a great time to cook typical BBQ fare, like sausages and burgers. Some fire pits even come with grills on top, which allow you to cook this type of food. Baking potatoes wrapped in foil are also a delicious option, or you can do the same thing with bananas.
Last, but certainly not least, you need to consider the safety of the evening. Often this will be simple things like placing your fire pit away from anything flammable, and thoroughly reading the safety instructions of the fireworks you purchase. Children should be supervised when they’re close to the fire or fireworks, and you should also ensure your guests stand at a safe distance from these things too.
It’s additionally important to think about the safety of the local wildlife when hosting a bonfire. Small animals like hedgehogs can make their homes in piles of logs, so make sure you check for any animals before lighting a fire. You just need to shaft the logs around a little, and make enough noise to scare away any hiding critters.
Your pets should also be a consideration on bonfire night – many animals get scared by the sudden loud noises that happen throughout the evening. There are a variety of sprays and treats you can buy that are designed to prevent anxiety in pets, keeping them calm while the fireworks are going off.