How to host Bonfire Night at home
26 October 2020
The most cracking night of the year starts here.
Remember, remember the 5th November. We’ll probably all remember 2020 as a little different to other years to say the least, but that doesn’t mean Bonfire Night still can’t go off with a bang. From the sizzling recipe ideas to the craft activities that’ll make a real event of the day, we’ve pulled together the perfect guide to Guy Fawkes Night at home. Who needs to trek miles into a muddy field anyway?
Garden is golden
Whatever outdoor space you have, you can make a magical Bonfire Night itinerary. Start with the décor. Light the area with lanterns, or battery-operated fairy lights strung through trees or placed in jam jars. You could even line the jars with russet leaves for a mellow autumnal glow. Use glow sticks to make garlands to hang. Next, decide on your main event. Place sparklers in little pots (making sure you have a bucket of sand or water handy) or gather wood and prepare an area for a bonfire. Set out garden chairs or even hay bales covered in picnic blankets to make inviting seating. Be sure to have some rolled up blankets in a basket so your guests can help themselves. If you have an outdoor play tent, transform it into a cosy den for kids with fairy lights and cushions galore.
There are plenty of garden games to be had. String up donuts (or for an even trickier contest, apples) and challenge participants to try and eat them without their hands. Play glow-in-the-dark ring toss or bowling with ready-to-be-recycled plastic bottles filled with glow sticks.
Spending the evening outside is the ideal excuse for a little warming tipple or two. Whip up mulled wine, fruity, mulled cider or cinnamon-spiced hot apple juice. Your garden gathering calls for easy-to-eat bites. Think flame-baked mini jacket potatoes with a fiery salsa and sour cream, or sticky cider onion hot dogs. S’mores is a must – we love chocolate oaty biscuits sandwiched with banana and dulce de leche – as are toasted marshmallows. For the perfect finger food dessert, skewer apple slices with lollipop sticks and cover with melted chocolate and an array of goodies, from crushed Oreos to coconut flakes. Don’t forget to end the evening with a hot chocolate – for adults, make it a salted caramel concoction with a hint of rum.
For an unhurried autumn evening, layers are a must. Start with a long-sleeve top or rugby shirt with a t-shirt underneath. Then add a textured knit and finish with a lightweight-but-insulating padded jacket which will give warmth without the weight. Our lightweight padded long jacket for women comes with a keep-the-cold-at-bay hood, and our hooded parka for men has the bonus of fleece-lined hand warmer pockets. This is the moment to crack out the winter accessories – gloves are a sparkler staple for little ones and, well, not-quite-so-little ones too.
Inside that counts
Don’t fancy venturing outside? No problem. Make Bonfire Night your excuse for the cosiest home gathering around. Source or make paper pinwheels and hang up for a firework display in origami form. Get kids to make rocket garlands by decorating kitchen roll insides. Hosting your gathering indoors is the perfect excuse for a sit-down meal. Dress your table with a centrepiece of autumnal foliage, fire cones, figs, candles and even gourds in varying sizes. Use metallic gold paint to transform findings from a woodland walk into place settings – and take jewel tones and warm hues as your colour cues.
Make the main event a sumptuous dinner followed by a viewing of a firework-related film. The Great Gatsby, To Catch a Thief and Tangled all feature firework (or magical, lantern-lit) scenes. For a kids’ craft that’ll cue the ‘ahhs’, encourage them to colour a piece of paper with different wax crayons, layer on top black wax crayon and then etch through the top layer using a lollipop stick to make a firework pattern.
A dinner party calls for rustic classics like Catherine wheel toad-in-the-hole or smoky, slow-cooked beef brisket. Think toffee gin or cocktails served with a smoking rosemary sprig for real theatre. Roast chestnuts for a smell that’ll fill the house and for dessert, try an apple cake, classic parkin or a warming, buttery baked crumble with a splash of rum. Kids will enjoy getting involved in making cupcakes decorated with piled-up Matchmakers and orange-tinted buttercream to resemble a bonfire.
The dress code we heartily recommend is cosy. Pair a supersoft hoodie with equally irresistibly soft joggers. Alternatively, make knitwear your starting point with a classic-but-comfy half zip sweatshirt. When twilight rolls in, make sure you have the fluffiest socks in your drawer to hand. Kids will love snug cardigans and sofa-perfect jumpers – made for lazy evenings. If only it were Bonfire Night every night. We think we’ll make this the new tradition….
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