Make Bonfire Night go with a blast


Child lighting sparklerWhether celebrating November 5th is a full-on, fun-and-firework-filled family tradition or, frankly, you'd rather just watch someone else's display from the bedroom window, here are Mumsnetters' takes on how to make sure this year goes with a bang, not a pssssst.

The bonfire bonanza

If you're already making your own guy and stocking up on sparklers and mint humbugs, check out these top tips on how to give Bonfire Night at home a nice cheery glow (without setting the garden furniture alight).

  • Fireworks at home really rock. You should toast marshmallows and have a ludicrously enormous bonfire and make your own Guy to look like someone you know (but who isn't coming). You need at least three generations of your family there for max enjoyment. We stick with the stereotypes in our family - the men light the fireworks and the girls 'ooh' and 'aah' at the pretty ones. Podrick
  • Invoke the 'no getting pissed till after the final psst' rule. In other words, you can only get tiddled when all the fireworks have been set off. twentynine
  • Timing. Has no one mentioned timing? It gets dark by 4pm but people start parties at 8pm, which means that small children are crabby and knackered. Start family firework parties early, then you get more time for drinking mulled wine. morningpaper
  • Give children wind-up torches or glow-sticks, so they don't get scared in the dark and can find their way to the loo etc. Batteries are so last century. TheDuchessOfCorpseBride
  • Set the fireworks in firm soil or sand and do not aim them towards other people's gardens or houses. And don't have fireworks at home more than a week away from the 5th, as it's bloody annoying for everyone else. TheDuchessOfCorpseBride
  • You can never buy enough sparklers. Have loads and loads - everyone loves 'em. And don't forget a camera with a slow shutter speed, so you can take a snap of the filthy words you write with them. morningpaper
  • Get different adults to 'be in charge' of different aspects - one overseeing the bonfire, two setting off the fireworks, two in charge of sparklers, someone else in charge of food etc - so the workload is shared. It's also much safer because you don't keep getting distracted away from one task to do another. cat64
  • Get the kids to draw pictures of the fireworks the next day while you stomp round the garden picking up the dead ends and nursing a headache from all the bangs. twentynine

The firework feast

The final firework has fizzled, so now it's time to strip off those wintry layers and settle down for some good old grub. But what should be on the menu (aside from Jura's hot toddy)?

  • Mini toad in the hole with a dollop of onion chutney or onion marmalade on each. And butternut squash risotto: I roast small chunks of butternut squash, onion and garlic, then add to a normal white wine risotto. I often add grated squash towards the end, too, as it gives it a lovely colour. Ginger beer for the kids and vodka for the adults. TheDevilWearsPrimark
  • Get your neighbours to do baked potatoes in their oven, so that your own is available to cook nice sausages - do not go for the 'charcoaled on the bonfire' option. A big pot of chilli is also good. As is a vast apple and blackberry crumble. TheDuchessOfCorpseBride
  • Marmalade baked sausages, mini spuds with sour cream and chives, ghoulash soup, parkin, cinder toffee and toffee apples. fourlittlefeet
  • Toasted marshmallows and baked foil-wrapped bananas with chocolate inside. Yum. GreatGooglyMoogly
  • Bonfire cake - use red food colouring in a chocolate cake, then red butter icing to cover (flames) and stick chocolate flakes (logs) over the top. Weegle

For even more inspiration, browse Mumsnet recipes

The safety drill

Now remember kids, Bonfire Night isn't all about who's got the biggest banger and the whirliest, twirliest Catherine Wheel...

  • We tape off the bonfire with some of that red and white plastic tape, so people can't get too close. And we do fireworks behind this tape, too. But there are usually some dads you can't keep them away from a fire - boys never grow up. sugarplumfairy
  • Consider ear defenders. DS is five and he only recently realised (when I overrode DH's objections and kitted him out with ear defenders) that fireworks are pretty - up until then, it turns out, he had been too terrified by the noise to watch. stealthsquiggle
  • Think about your pets. If your pet is frightened of fireworks, see your vet for advice. The golden rule is to act normally and to avoid punishing or comforting a frightened pet. Just make them a comfortable, soundproofed den (cupboard under the stairs/old duvet thrown over a space between furniture/bathroom - wherever they'll go willingly), close the curtains, put the telly on and give dogs a big meal of pasta or rice at dusk. Then just let them get on with it. IAteDavinaForDinner

Visit our Talk Pets board if you need/ can impart more words of wisdom about keeping your family's furry friends safe and calm on 5 November.

The borrow-a-bonfire option

If you'd rather go Christmas shopping early then organise your own Bonfire Night party, then follow these tips to get the most out of other people's firework fun.

    • Find an organised display. Fire Brigade ones are always good - and you get to chat up the firemen, too. PhantomOfTheChocolateCake
    • Pile off to the local display. Then head back to the hosue for mulled wine, soup, baked spuds, chilli and toffee apples, all prepared (or bought) in advance. Spockster
    • Label your child! Kids do tend to go wandering about at large fireworks parties. twentynine
    • Get invited to someone else's. fumf
    • Watch it all out of your bedroom window. MaloryDontDiveItsShallow

To find out if there's an organised firework display on near you, check out Mumsnet Local. Likewise, if you know of a great display, please let other Mumsnetters know where and when it's on, by posting it here.

And finally...

  • Don't let menfolk go up to corner shop for more sparklers after a drink has been taken. They will stagger back with a giant firework - the sort which would take out a small continent and requires clearance of around 100ft. When you only have a grass patch of around 12ft square. You will end up swearing and sheltering behind neighbours' cars. All the children will be crying, the neighbours will never speak to you again - and you'll never get the sparklers. fumf

Don't say you haven't been warned! And if you need distraction from all things that go bang (we're still talking fireworks here), then pay a visit to Talk.

Love, Mumsnet Towers

Last updated: about 3 years ago