Whether you call it Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Day, November 5 is a time for celebration. Bonfires and fireworks mark that fateful day in 1605 when Guy Fawkes attempted—and failed—to blow up Parliament.
Communities throughout the country have lively events for the public, but if you prefer more intimate festivities you can host your own party for family and friends.
You need a bit of room to put on a fireworks display in your garden—at least five metres between the explosives and your guests (more if it’s windy). Most modern fireworks come with spacing and other safety instructions; be sure to follow them.
Anchor the pyrotechnics firmly in the ground, so they are not loose or wobbly. When it comes to fireworks, more is not always better; a long display gets boring, so keep it down to a few minutes. Keep buckets of water and a first aid kit nearby.
Variety is the key to a great fireworks display. Choose some fireworks that explode all at once and others that explode bit by bit. Alternate colourful displays with white ones. A number of fireworks merchants allow you to preview videos of their products so you know exactly what you are getting.
Fireworks for a home party include, among others:
• Catherine wheels
And of course, don’t forget the sparklers, especially for children.
Rain and fireworks don’t mix. But don’t despair–If it’s raining you can have an indoor fireworks display on a plate on the dining table. Indoor fireworks used to be banned, but several types are now allowed.
Choose a spot for your bonfire away from fences, trees, and buildings—anything that might burn. Keep a hose or buckets of water nearby. You can make or buy a fire pit to contain the bonfire. Make sure the fire is tended at all times.
Once you have all your safety measures in hand, you and your guests can warm your hands by the fire, stare into the flames, roast corn and marshmallows, or burn an effigy of Guy Fawkes. Just don’t throw fireworks or sprinklers into the fire; it may sound like fun, but it is extremely dangerous. After the fire dies down spray it with water to make sure there are no live embers that could re-ignite.
Bonfire Night Food
There’s a nip in the air by early November, so have rich, filling food for your guests. Pumpkin soup, bangers and mash, stews, chilli, and spicy sausage with mustard are traditional favourites. Hot mulled cider is the perfect seasonal drink.
Keep Children and Pets Safe
You want your party to go off with a bang, but loud noises can scare small children and pets.
• Give young children noise-reducing headphones and keep the close.
• Keep pets in the house; consider consulting a veterinarian about tranquilizers if your pets are very distressed by loud noises.
Sparklers are fun, but not if they poke someone in the eye. Always supervise children when they celebrate with sparklers. And by all means keep them a safe distance from fireworks and bonfires.