Fireworks, festive games, food and a huge bonfire… What’s not to love about the uniquely British event on 5th November? As well as a great opportunity to build a huge fire, bonfire night serves as an ideal fundraising and social opportunity for schools and PTAs.
But what is the history behind our annual bonfire celebration and the well known rhyme?
Remember, remember the fifth of November, Gunpowder, treason and plot, We see no reason, Why gunpowder treason, Should ever be forgot!
It’s hard to believe that in 1605 thirteen men, led by Robert Catesby, plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliament. They were hoping to kill the King – James I, and other Members of Parliament who were making life difficult for Catholics. When the gunpowder plot was uncovered, bonfires were lit to celebrate the safety of the King. Ever since then, November 5th has been known as Bonfire Night and an effigy of Guy Fawkes – who was found in the cellar with the gunpowder – is burnt on the bonfire.
Today however, celebrations are less about religion and more about having a good fireworks display.
Here are our top tips for a successful Bonfire Night Party (on top of watching your great bonfire):
Build a Guy
You will need:
1 x old broom handle, or wooden pole.
1 x old shirt and trousers. Maybe a hat too.
Lots of pairs of tights.
Old newspaper and/or straw and hay to stuff the guy.
Fill up the tights with old newspaper or other stuffing materials and thread the stuffed legs through the shirt sleeves and trouser legs to make your guy. Do the same to make the ‘face’. Fix the shirt and trousers together either by sewing or simply use a stapler. Attach the head with hat. Secure the whole Guy with the broom handle to keep it upright. Throw on top of the fire and watch it burn!
There are lots of games that people enjoy. The more games you have the more money you will raise. Here are some more unusual games we have heard of:
- Maltesers with chop sticks. Difficulty rating – Very! Pitch two people against each other and see how many they can eat in a minute or two. Set the timer.
- Doughnuts on String. Difficulty rating – Middle. Tie ring donuts with string and hang from coat hangers or a pole. Try and eat as quickly as you can but no hands!
- Toys in jelly. Difficulty rating – Easy. Fill a bucket with jelly and small plastic toys. Let children delve their hands into the mire and find a toy. Make sure there is water nearby to wash them off!
- Apple Bobbing. Difficulty rating – Middle. A classic Halloween game. Submerge your face in the bucket to grasp hold of an apple with your teeth. No hands!
- Sweets in Flour. Difficulty rating- Easy! The perfect follow-up game to apple bobbing so children get their faces coated white. Eat a sweet covered in flour using only your mouth.
- Knife and Fork Chocolate. Difficulty rating – Very! Everyone knows this one don’t they? Roll the dice. When you score a 6, it’s your turn. Put on a scarf, hat and gloves before using a knife and fork to cut and eat a huge slab of chocolate. Continue until the next person rolls a 6.
To accompany the food and toy games it’s always good to have some sweet treats as well.
Hotdogs are essential. Cheap and easy to cook, you will have people queuing up for hours to have one by the fire.
Toffee Apples. Another classic, and popular with chocolate too. Buy them wholesale and sell them on or, even better, get the PTA to club together and make them at home.
Chocolate Matchsticks. Something a bit unusual but easy to make. You could even have an activity table for children to ‘make their own’. Here’s how:
You will need:
– Chocolate finger biscuits
– Small bowl of hot water
– Small bowl of sugar strands (hundreds and thousands)
– Greaseproof paper
Dip one end of a biscuit into the hot water and then into the sugar strands. Place on greaseproof paper and leave to set. Simple, quick and kids love them!
It goes without saying that safety is the most important thing for any Bonfire Night. Did you know? • A sparkler reaches a temperature of up to 2,000 degrees Celsius – that’s 20 times the boiling point of water. • Sparklers get five times hotter than cooking oil. • A rocket can reach 150 miles an hour. • A firework shell can go as high as 200 metres. • Three sparklers burning together generate the same heat as a blow-torch.
On average, 1,000 people visit A&E for treatment of a firework-related injury in the four weeks around Bonfire Night, with half of the injuries being suffered by under-18s. Always follow the Firework Code.
How are you organising your fireworks night?
Read about how a village school organised their volunteers online to get everyone in school helping!