How to make Bonfire Night 2020 a roaring success!

Gunpowder, treason and plot - 7 tips for a fun family bonfire night at home

Firepit in a garden

We love Bonfire Night! It is a uniquely British tradition that can be fun for the whole family. Sadly there are no organised firework displays in 2020 due to coronavirus social distancing measures. Instead, we bring you 7 tips on how to make Bonfire Night at home a roaring success.

Importantly you don't need to spend lots of money on fireworks! What's more, fireworks can scare animals and seriously worry some people. Read on for 7 great ideas... but if you do decide to hold a firework display at home for your family, see below the RoSPA Firework Safety Code and take care. 


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Toast marshmallows on the fire pit this bonfire night

#1 Toast marshmallows for s'mores

If the evening is fine, wrap up warm and gather outside around the firepit. Our children love toasting marshmallows and making s'mores (from 'can I have some more...) Simply stick the toasted marshmallow between 2 chocolate digestive biscuits (chocolate side in) for a delicious treat!

If wind and rain keep the firepit at bay, consider a chocolate fondue instead. You don't need a special kit, just melt chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of hot water (always works better than in a microwave than in our experience). Then prepare a few bowls of chopped fruit (banana, strawberries and satsumas are popular options here), along with a small bowl of marshmallows, and dip away!

#2 Have a go at apple bobbing!

Apple bobbing involves a bowl of water and apples. Try to bite into and hold an apple in your mouth without using your hands.

Apparently, apple bobbing dates back to when the Romans invaded Britain. They brought with them traditions which became merged with the Celtic traditions and festivals that had long existed in Britain. The Romans brought with them an apple tree which was there to represent the goddess of plenty, Pomona. During a yearly celebration, the young unmarried couples would bite into apples that would either be floating in water or hanging from a string. The first one to bite into the apple would be the next person allowed to marry. It was once believed that the women who placed the apples they bobbed for under their pillow would dream about their beloved.

Homemade rainbow unicorn hot chocolate

#3 Rainbow unicorn hot chocolate

What is better than hot chocolate with marshmallows? Why 'Rainbow unicorn' hot chocolate of course! Rainbow unicorn hot chocolate is really quick and easy to make. Make up hot chocolate and then add squirty cream, multicoloured 100s and 1000s or strands, mini marshmallows and sprinkle confetti... seriously, even the teens go for this one...

#4 Make a firework painting

You can have great fun indoors or out making firework paintings. Ours have usually involved a certain amount of paint 'splatting' - spread out a plastic tablecloth first and then all join in for some arty fun! 

#4 Sparklers

Older children love sparklers - follow the RoSPA firework code below and make sure you have a bucket of water or sand nearby. For younger children, make potato sparklers for them to watch. Halve a large potato, then use as a stand for sparklers, light and then watch from a safe distance. If rain and wind or a lack of outdoor space prevent this, consider using indoor cake sparklers instead.

#5 Make pumpkin head Guy Fawkes

A great activity for the weekend before Bonfire Night! Although you may not have a bonfire on which to burn him, you can have lots of fun making a scarecrow Guy out of old clothes with a carved pumpkin as a head. 

Homemade parkin cake

#6 Toffee apples

Our kids have always loved making toffee apples, another sweet autumn treat (at least this one contains fruit!) We love this Toffee Apple recipe which uses Granny Smith apples, caster sugar, golden syrup and a dash of vinegar. 

#7 Make a traditional parkin cake 

Like bonfires themselves, the tradition of eating Parkin cake at this time of year is much older than the Gunpowder Plot. The origins are unclear, although it is believed they could be Pagan or linked to All Saints' Day. For centuries it's been enjoyed at the start of November, usually on 'Parkin Sunday'.

Parkin is a traditional sponge cake flavoured with treacle, golden syrup, oatmeal and ginger. Totally delicious and well worth trying - we recommend this Parkin recipe. If you like sticky toffee pudding, you'll love this...

So all you need to do now is add a 'Bonfire night' supper of hot dogs, jacket potatoes or 'bangers' and mash and enjoy an evening at home!


Remember the safety code if planning fireworks at home!

sparklerIf you are planning a firework display at home, remember the RoSPA Firework Safety Code:

  1. Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable

  2. Keep fireworks in a closed box and use them one at a time

  3. Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary

  4. Light the firework at arm's length with a taper and stand well back

  5. Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks

  6. Never return to a firework once it has been lit

  7. Don't put fireworks in pockets and never throw them

  8. Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators

  9. Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire

  10. Make sure that the fire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving

Young people should watch and enjoy fireworks at a safe distance and follow the safety rules for using sparklers. Only adults should deal with firework displays and the lighting of fireworks. They should also take care of the safe disposal of fireworks once they have been used.

With some firework displays overlapping with Halloween this year, be especially careful with - or avoid - the combination of fancy dress and sparklers or bonfires. For more information on how to keep safe, visit www.saferfireworks.com.

 

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