Planning the Perfect Bonfire Night Party
With bonfire night fast approaching, it’s time to start planning how to make sure your party goes off with a real bang. You should also ensure everyone enjoys themselves whilst staying safe. Here is our guide to hosting the perfect bonfire night blast!
Bonfire Night Preparations: Buying Fireworks
It is essential you buy the right fireworks that will be fun to watch but also keep you safe. When purchasing fireworks, make sure that they are British Standard compliant. British Standard fireworks have undergone rigorous criteria to ensure they are safe for the general public to use.
The fireworks you purchase should say on the label that they comply with British Standard BS 7114 Category 2. This category means that the fireworks are safe to be set off in an enclosed outdoor area such as a back garden. If you are unsure, please speak to the vendor when you buy your fireworks.
Keeping Pets Safe: Dogs, Cats & Small Animals
According to the RSPCA, 45% of dogs in the UK show signs of fear when they hear fireworks. In order to make your party fun for everyone – including your dogs and cats – you make some simple changes during your party.
How to help your pets during bonfire night:
- It is always a good idea to provide your pet with a hiding place in the house where they will always feel safe if anything distresses them. An example of this could be under furniture or inside a cupboard. Don’t try to coax your pet out of their spot – this can cause further distress.
- If you need to walk your dog, try and do this during daylight hours to avoid the times when fireworks are likely to be set off. Keep your cat indoors during evenings.
- It is advisable to close all curtains and drown out the noise of the fireworks using music or the television.
- Whilst you may wish to comfort your pet, it is important to try and ignore their behaviour as this has benefits in the long-term. Only intervene if your pet is trying to hurt themselves.
- If you have smaller animals such as rabbits or guinea pigs, or any other pets that live outside, partly cover their cages with blankets so that one area is well sound-proofed. Make sure that your pet is still able to look out. Put extra budding in the cage so the animals can burrow in to escape the noise.
- Close windows, doors and curtains and put on music inside the house to mask the sound of the fireworks for dogs.
- For more information on spotting the signs of distress in pets, check out this piece from Vets Now.
Safety When Lighting Fireworks
Tips for safety at your bonfire night party:
- Insist that everyone watches the fireworks from one side only. Don’t let your guests stand round the fireworks, as it is harder to make sure everyone is a safe distance away. Lights your fireworks on a good hard, flat surface, avoiding any piles of leave or foliage. A well-kept lawn is an ideal place to prevent any scorch marks from the fireworks.
- Make sure you have bucket filled with water to soak any used fireworks or fireworks which have failed to go off. It is also a good idea to have a hose ready to douse down any fires which could ignite from the fireworks.
- Don’t let children light the fireworks, it should be done by a responsible adult who is not drinking alcohol beforehand. Sparklers are not recommend for children under 5.
- Light one firework at a time, if it doesn’t go off after the fuse has burnt all the way down then it is probably a dud. However wait half an hour before putting any duds into the bucket of water. Make sure that the firework has finished before lighting the next one. When lighting the fireworks, use a long-tipped lighter to keep your hands away from the flame.
- Avoid smoking around fireworks, and also wear cotton clothing if you are lighting the fireworks so if you get burnt it doesn’t stick to your skin. If the weather is particularly windy, it is recommended that you don’t light the fireworks.
You can find full information on Bonfire and Firework Safety here: Bonfire Night Safety Advice.
Food and drink
We’ve selected a handful of recipes that we think will go down a treat at your bonfire party. Foods need to be easy to eat whilst watching fireworks, warming and good for all the family. You can also have fun making your sweet treats in advance with the kids – have a go at homemade toffee apples, cupcakes or bonfire toffee.
So now you know how to have a safe and successful bonfire night, you need some good food and drink to top it off. The BBC Good Food website has some great ideas for bonfire night treats and the one that we think is a great idea is their recipe for hot dogs, which adults and kids will enjoy. It’s a simple dish to make which will require:
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 6 large pork sausages
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
- 6 big flour tortillas
- 2 tbsp tomato relish
Heat your oven to 180C for a fan oven (200C for a conventional oven). Pour oil onto tin and allow it to heat up. Add the sausages to the hot tin and roast for 10 minutes.
Move the sausages to the outer edges of the tin and then scatter the sliced onion in the centre. Sprinkle the onion slices with the mustard seeds, adding some salt and pepper and turn them to coat in the hot oil at the bottom of the tin. Return to the oven for 10-15 minutes until the sliced onions are golden and the sausages are completely cooked through.
You can heat the flour tortillas in the oven, microwave or in a dry frying pan to make them softer and easier to roll. Place a sausage and some onion on each one, top with a spoonful of relish and roll, folding the bottom over. Serve straight away. You can serve them in paper napkins, meaning less washing up!
Mulled Apple Juice
To complete your bonfire night festivities you need a good drink. There is nothing better than a nice mulled apple juice:
- 2 x Cartons Apple Juice
- 1 inch knob of ginger
- 1 whole lemon, cut in quarters
- 1 whole orange, cut in quarters
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 whole cloves
- Combine ingredients in a non-stick saucepan.
- Place over a medium heat and bring to a gentle boil.
- Reduce the heat and then simmer gently for 15 minutes.
- Make sure you strain the mixture and serve hot in mugs. Please note it may need time to cool down first!
If the adults fancy something similar but a little stronger, then why not make a mulled cider. Jamie Oliver has a great recipe for this:
- 2 litres good-quality traditional cider
- 6 cloves
- 3-4 star anise
- ¼ nutmeg, finely grated into the pan
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 vanilla pod, halved
- juice of 1 orange
- juice of 2 clementines
- 1 pomegranate, juice and seeds of
- 4–5 tablespoons caster sugar
- Pour the cider into a large pan on a low heat and warm through for a few minutes.
- Add all the spices and juices and turn the heat up.
- Once boiling, turn down to a simmer for 5–8 minutes.
- Taste the cider and if you need to, then add sugar.
- The key is not having it too sweet but the sugar can blend in with the other spices. When the flavours are just right, ladle it into mugs and serve warm.
If you have success with our mulled apple juice and mulled cider recipes, tag us in your photos on twitter @hst.
- Bonfire Toffee
- Toffee Apples with Chocolate, Hazelnuts & Sesame Seeds
- Bonfire Cupcakes
- 40 S’mores Recipes
- Bonfire Night and Firework Safety: Assessing the Risks
- Fire Safety Awareness Course