Our low-key Bonfire Night celebrations

I’ve never been a big fan of Bonfire night, it’s always seemed a bit on the dangerous side for my liking, flying fire which explodes? No thank you very much. In previous years we’ve enjoyed a somewhat low-key, safety concious celebration, but this year we’ve decided to cast all my health and safety fears aside and go to a local display. But that will have to wait until the weekend, on the 5th November itself we’ll be spinning out our usual celebratory fayre.

Hot dogs (or bangers) are the order of the day, always with fried onions and mustard. This is always followed by a thick slice of Parkin and custard.

We also make “sparklers” which are really easy to do, take a breadstick and dip one end in melted chocolate, then dip that in hundreds and thousands. It’s something even little toddlers can do and it’s quick, sticky, chocolatey and fun.

Because of the full horror of 1980s public information films I have a fear of fireworks (and pylons), but I feel I must tip my hat to tradition, so we usually get a packet of sparklers, don full safety gear, including having a bucket of water close by, and we stand in the garden waving our sparklers about. It provides about 4 minutes of fun. Total. But that’s enough dicing with danger for one night.

After we’ve done with our sparklers we tend to press our faces up against the window and watch everyone else’s displays from the safety of our kitchen, earnestly chewing our way through a bag of treacle toffee.

Now the small boy is nearly 5 (how did that happen?) he’s a bit more interested in things like Bonfire Night, we’ll be printing off some of these really handy Bonfire Night activity sheets from Pip Ahoy! to add to the evenings entertainment. There’s a poster to colour in, a spot the difference puzzle and a recipe to make some yummy toffee apples!

Do you have any Bonfire Night traditions? 

bonfire night

Bonfire Night

If like me you’re of a certain age, somewhere slightly north of 21, then your head is likely filled with the terrifying public information films which were shown during the 1980s (a decade I can barely remember). As a result of this I physically recoil at the thought of a frisbee near a pylon, I know to sit under a table in the event of a nuclear war and that fireworks are potentially the most dangerous thing known to humanity.

My parents being risk (and fun) averse never really did fireworks. I have a vague memory of a poor quality Catherine wheel being nailed to the shed, when lit it promptly fell off and went mental around the garden while we watched balefully from behind locked patio doors.


One year my Dad, keen for us not to miss out on the “fun” bought some indoor fireworks. These were as dull as cheese. The one I remember the most was a black coin shaped thing which you held a lighter to and then it kind of unravelled itself like a demonic poo.

Since leaving home we’ve never had fireworks, we’ve always had a dog who is terrified of whizz-bangs. So for many years we’d escape down to Devon for Bonfire night. Fireworks in the deepest, darkest countryside are a bit frowned on due to the farm animals. Sure, we’d get some sparklers in and that would be our limit. It was actually very lovely.

These days in our new house we overlook woods and fields. We can cheerfully sit on our bed; curtains open and watch all the fireworks for miles around. There is also a local firework display on the field below. We get all the fun, none of the danger and we get to stay warm and cozy. So that’s what we’ll be doing tonight, and eating sausages and Parkin obviously, though not on the same plate.