As the nights draw in and we get cosy in front of the fire, get ready to celebrate Guys Fawkes night with a fireworks party on 5th November. We tell you how to get the best bang for your buck on Bonfire night.
Top 10 Bonfire Night Party Tips
- You will need a fairly large space if you are going to do your own fireworks display and you will need to mark out the clearance and fallout spaces beforehand to ensure you have enough room, preferably whilst it is light – see safety below for more details.
- Choose your fireworks wisely. You need to have a realistic number of fireworks - if you have too many, people get bored, not enough and it will be over too quickly.
- Buy noise-reducing headphones for kids under three to avoid damaging their hearing.
- Make sure you have told your neighbours well in advance, especially the elderly or those with animals and small children.
- Wrap up warm with lots of layers and have plenty of extra gloves, blankets and scarves handy.
- Have a gazebo or umbrella ready in case of rain.
- Keep torches and head torches handy
- Keep food and drink simple, spicy and warming. Use warming plates and flasks to keep things warm. Serve drinks in plastic glasses to avoid breakages.
- Make sure there is adequate lighting and put electric tea lights or battery operated LED lights in jam jars or lantern bags on tables and along pathways so people can see where they’re going.
- Decorate the house and garden with outdoor lights around the garden.
Choosing your FireworksWe have a huge range of firework assortments packs for your display, available here.
- Cakes (also sometimes called barrages or single-ignition boxes) look, unsurprisingly, like big cakes; they're essentially a bunch of what used to be called Roman candles (cardboard tubes with a shooting firework inside) taped together. You only need to light one fuse, which will set the fireworks off one by one. Roman candles themselves have been partially withdrawn from the market, but you can get up-to-date versions with multiple shots in them. The Pyro Finale firework pack features 8 easy to use cake fireworks with an assortment of different bangs and effects. Or this one contains 13 cake fireworks.
- Mines are similar, but tend to have a shorter effect – where cakes or candles explode a bit at a time, mines just all go off at once. They're spectacular but short-lived.
- Rockets, meanwhile …well, everyone knows what a rocket does. They range in height and effect (as do mines, candles and cakes).
- Then there are fountains, which you light on the ground and which send lovely plumes of stars up into the air.
- Catherine wheels, which are nailed to a post and, once ignited, spin round and round, shooting out furious sparks. Catherine wheels, almost more than any other firework, need to be set up with extreme care in case they come away from the post; you do not want their whizzing, spitting madness on the loose.
- Finally, whatever you do, don't forget sparklers for the little ones; these still give a really "Ooh!" moment. We've got a great range of sparklers, some you can also use indoors. Mini Silver Sparklers and Mini Gold Sparklers.
All come with full instructions, lighting sticks, firing order and safety glasses so you will have everything you need to start your party with a bang.
Fireworks Display Tips
- Try to vary it as much as possible. You don't want to set off all the rockets at the same time, and then all the mines.
- Think it through beforehand and try to work out where different fireworks will be going off and how long the display will take.
- Let people look around the sky, so that they're not just standing staring at the same point for minutes at a time. Three minutes of the same firework is just boring.
Firework Display Setup & PreparationThe safest way to set up a firework display is to pick where your spectators are going to stand, and then measure out a "clearance distance", which should be a minimum of five metres and may have to go to 25 or even 40 depending on how big a bang you're planning. Fireworks these days come with information about how big a space you need; make sure you check this when you're buying them. Once you've measured out your clearance gap to the blast-off point, you need to measure out a similar amount again for a fall-out space. (If your fallout space includes your neighbour's back garden, it's probably polite, at the very least, to let them know.)
Firework Display Safety Guide
Most importantly, remember that safety is paramount. Always, always read the instructions for each firework closely and make sure you follow them. Work out which way the wind is blowing – if it's blowing from the fireworks towards your guests, you might want to make the clearance space a little bigger. When you are setting up the fireworks, make sure they are securely in the ground; test them for looseness until you are happy with the results. Keep a couple of buckets of water handy and read some first-aid instructions for dealing with burns. Remember that you need to treat a firework burn as you would a burn caused by fire, rather than a chemical burn. Watch carefully as you light to make sure that every part of the firework has gone off – cakes, in particular, occasionally sizzle out halfway through. If this happens, leave the firework alone for 15 to 20 minutes and then douse it in cold water, tell your guests to stay clear of it, and leave it in the garden till morning, when you can contact the supplier for advice on disposal. If every firework has safely exploded, however, make sure you pick up all the bits and pieces. Never throw them into the bonfire.
Bonfire Night Food & DrinkUse plastic cups, bowls and cutlery to minimise washing up and breakages. We particularly love this black and gold stars Hollywood inspired tableware which includes plates and place cards.
Bonfire Night Chilli-Con-Carne (Serves 4-6)An easy one-pot option to keep everyone warm. Served with grated cheese, sour cream and guacamole, either with jacket potatoes, rice or in a wrap. 1 onion, finely chopped 1 tbsp olive oil 500g steak mince 3/4 garlic cloves, crushed 2 red chillies, chopped 1 tsp chilli powder or cayenne pepper 2 heaped tsp each of ground cumin, ground coriander & smoked paprika 1 red pepper, finely chopped 300ml beef stock 400g tin each of chopped tomatoes, kidney beans (drained) & baked beans Salt and pepper 25g dark chocolate (or chilli chocolate), broken up
- Fry the chopped veg in olive oil over a medium heat for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat another pan until it is very hot, tip in the mince and brown it as much as possible.
- Tip the veg into the meat pan along with the garlic, chillies, chilli powder, paprika and red pepper and stir well. Cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat and season well.
- Add the tomatoes, mix together and cook for 5 minutes. Pour in the stock and bring up to a simmer. Turn the heat down and cook for another 40 minutes, stirring occasionally before adding the beans. Leave it on a low heat for another 10 minutes for the beans to heat through.
- Stir through the chocolate until melted. Check and adjust the seasoning, then serve with jacket potatoes, cheese, guacamole
A Vegetarian Option: Three Bean Chilli (Serves 4)1 tbsp olive oil 1 onion, finely chopped 1 red pepper, finely chopped 1 aubergine, cut into small dice ½ tsp each of ground cumin, ground coriander & smoked paprika 1 mild red chilli, chopped 1 garlic clove, crushed 400g tin chopped tomatoes, 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 400g tin each of black beans, kidney beans and baked beans, salt and black pepper, 25g dark chocolate (or chilli chocolate) broken up.
- Heat the oil in a large shallow frying pan, add the onion and red pepper and cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat.
- Add the diced aubergine and continue frying for a further 5 minutes, stirring to prevent the mixture from sticking.
- Sprinkle over the spices, chilli and garlic, turn up the heat and stir for a minute, then tip in the tomatoes and Worcestershire Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the aubergine is tender.
- Add the beans to the pan and cook for a few more minutes, then season well and remove from the heat. Add the chocolate, stir until it has just melted, then serve.