Bonfire Night ideas: 13 suggestions for memorable get-togethers outdoors
Our Bonfire Night ideas will get you prepared for a magical celebration this autumn
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Ready for some brilliant Bonfire Night ideas? Of course you are! The 5th of November is one of the highlights of autumn, and there are plenty of ways to celebrate the occasion in style.
Bonfire Night sparks delight in the young and old – there's something truly magical about it. Cosying up around flickering flames with mugs of hot apple juice, cocoa or mulled wine in hand has to be one of life's simplest yet greatest pleasures. And of course, there are fireworks and s'mores to be enjoyed too.
This year, why not go a step further and throw a truly memorable garden party for your friends and family? We've got plenty of inspiration to help you transform your space into an enchanting setting.
13 brilliant Bonfire Night ideas to try this year
Whether you're throwing the party of the year or hosting an intimate gathering for family, these Bonfire Night ideas are sure to take the evening up a notch.
1. Gather around a traditional fire pit
One of the main features of Bonfire Night is the fire. And, 'with a fire pit, smaller gardens can still have the fun of a bonfire safely and easily,' says the team at FirepitsUK (opens in new tab). There are all kinds of fire pits to choose from – from simple bowls to more decorative designs – but whichever you go for, it's bound to make a gorgeous focal point for your winter garden party.
With the addition of accessories, it's easy to cook on a fire pit too. 'Cauldrons of stew, warm cocktails and the traditional bangers all taste wonderful when cooked over fire,' adds the team. 'And, after the cooking's done, the fire pit can be loaded up with logs and will keep everyone cozy long into the evening.'
2. Or, stick to smoke-free fires
'Fire pits are huge at the moment and are the ultimate way to make your garden welcoming in the autumn,' says the team at Supremo (opens in new tab). 'However, keeping warm is one thing but exposing your guests, and your clothing, to the excessive smoke a real fire creates, is another.'
Whilst some people love the smell of bonfires, others would rather avoid it, and that's where stylish gas fire pits come in. They're super low-maintenance and there's no ash to clear up afterwards. And, you can find plenty of stylish designs like this one, which integrates into a coffee table. It's the perfect fire pit idea if you want to add a touch of luxe to your event.
3. Create a hot chocolate station
When it comes to adding a drink station to your Bonfire Night set-up, we think a stylish hot chocolate bar like this one is hard to beat.
Simply turn an old wooden pallet in the bar area and top with all the necessary ingredients. The more marshmallows the better!
Classic enamel mugs are the best option for outdoor gatherings like this as there's less chance of any breakages. This colourful set of four enamel mugs from Amazon (opens in new tab) gets our vote.
4. Keep it traditional with classic toffee apples
If you've been harvesting apples from your garden recently, now is the perfect opportunity to make use of them and create some delicious treats that kids and adults alike will love.
Homemade versions will always be tastier (and cheaper) than shop-bought ones, and it means you can get the kids involved in making them before your guests arrive.
Once you've dipped the apples in your homemade toffee sauce, add some extra crunch and sweetness by rolling the toffee-covered sections in sugar sprinkles.
The experts at BBC Good Food (opens in new tab) advise that you can 'make toffee apples up to two days in advance and store them in a dry place.'
5. Impress guests with your Bonfire Night tablescape
Any good party calls for delicious food, and delicious food deserves to be served around a beautiful table.
So, create a tablescape to remember with twinkling tea lights, personalised name cards, and vases full of seasonal blooms and foliage. Opt for large serving dishes, wooden boards, and mix and match dinnerware and table linens in a tonal palette for a rustic yet well-balanced outdoor dining idea.
6. Provide plenty of warm blankets for guests
Although you might be sitting around and enjoying the warmth of the flames from your bonfire or fire pit, you can't beat the snuggle factor of a few throws and blankets on your outdoor seating.
Guests will always welcome the extra warmth when they're sitting outside in cooler weather, and they're essential additions if you're looking to create a really cosy patio vibe.
Tartan blankets are a classic choice for a seasonal update, and we love the colour combinations in the Anyday check throw from John Lewis (opens in new tab).
7. Grill up a Bonfire Night storm
Cooking outdoors is tons of fun whatever the season, if you have the right equipment that is. A wood pellet grill like this is bound to take your BBQ party to the next level, and there's plenty of room to cater for everyone. And, it can even be controlled by an app – talk about convenience.
Whether you're serving barbecued meat, veggies, or a mix of both this Bonfire Night, your guests are bound to be impressed. But why save it for special occasions only? Bringing out your best BBQ will always lift the mood, even in the depths of winter.
8. Set the tone with pretty Bonfire Night lighting
Good outdoor lighting is crucial for setting the tone for any celebration. So, when planning your Bonfire Night ideas, it's definitely not one to overlook.
Candles will instantly add a touch of romance. Dot them around your patio and go for pumpkin-spiced or cinnamon-scented ones to really embrace the season. Alternatively, opt for low-maintenance LED candles (try Amazon) (opens in new tab) – ideal if you don't want to worry about fire hazards.
Bring outdoor string lights into the mix too, to add to the laid-back vibe. They're so versatile – you can swag festoon lights along fences, wrap fairy lights around trees, or even dot microlights around your containers to create a magical glow.
9. Cook a feast right at the table
We love multi-purpose furniture, and this gorgeous design is a case in point.
You can transform the dining table into a fire pit by simply lifting the ceramic insert, adding the glass fire shield and lighting the gas. It's 'a great way to keep the party going and guests warm,' says the team at Bramblecrest (opens in new tab).
'Optional griddle plates are available allowing you to cook Bonfire Night treats for your guests whilst sitting comfortably around the table – no need to leave the party!'
Pair with a chic outdoor sofa piled with soft cushions and blankets for extra comfort. This set-up would also make a brilliant option for a winter patio.
10. Treat yourself to some s'mores
Not just a garden activity for kids, toasting marshmallows always feels like a treat. And if you're lighting a fire pit this Bonfire Night, there's no excuse not to whip up some s'mores!
Invest in some extra long marshmallow skewers for ease. Then, once they're done just how you like them, sandwich between two biscuits with a couple of chunks of chocolate for a deliciously indulgent treat.
Take care of the toasting part for little ones, keeping other children carefully supervised.
11. ...and some mulled drinks
We've talked about the food, but to really impress with your Bonfire Night ideas this year, you'll want to serve up some yummy drinks, too.
You can't go far wrong with a decent mulled wine recipe. But if that feels a little too Christmassy, give mulled cider a try. Fancy something non-alcoholic? Mulled apple juice is delicious too.
Serve it in a big cauldron in the center of your outdoor table – that way guests can help themselves. It's the perfect addition to an alfresco gathering in the cooler seasons to warm everyone up.
12. Light up the garden with Bonfire Night sparklers
For many people, fireworks are one of the best bits about Bonfire Night. But, if you have a small garden or live somewhere built-up (or both), lighting up a rocket or two simply won't be an option.
Sparklers (available from Amazon) (opens in new tab), are a much safer approach and are magical in their own right. Plus, they're super affordable.
Just remember all the necessary safety precautions, such as wearing gloves whilst holding a lit sparkler, closely supervising children, and keeping them away from young children altogether. Keep a bucket of water nearby to drop the sticks into once they've finished sparkling.
13. Toast chestnuts over the fire
Investing in outdoor cooking accessories will definitely help you make the most of your fire pit. 'Whether it's traditional chestnut roasting or creating your own gourmet popcorn, these are designed to be used over an open fire or BBQ and are completely versatile…the only limit is your culinary creativity!' says the team at Fallen Fruits (opens in new tab).
If you are going for chestnuts, remember to score one side of them first with an 'X' – this stops them from exploding as they cook and makes them easier to peel. They'll fill the air with a delicious aroma, which is great for setting a holiday tone.
What are some fun activities to do on Bonfire Night?
Hopefully, after looking through our Bonfire Night ideas, you'll have a few new activities to try out this season. But if you're looking for even more ways to boost the fun factor, try these suggestions:
- Halloween is just a few days before Bonfire Night, and there's no reason not to keep the pumpkin theme going. Perhaps swap spooky characters for decorative patterns instead – our guide on how to carve a pumpkin has lots of useful tips.
- 'Glow accessories have become a must-have for Halloween and Bonfire Night,' says the team at Premier Decorations (opens in new tab). Try glow sticks, necklaces, bracelets, earrings and even glasses in vibrant colors that will surely boost the spirit of any party. This multi-pack of glow sticks from Amazon (opens in new tab) is perfect for gatherings at this time of year.
- If you have a garden building or pergola, consider transforming it into a cosy chill-out zone for the evening. Fill with fairy lights, cushions and on-theme decor to make it extra inviting.
- What's a party without music? Invest in some outdoor speakers and set up a special playlist. Or, if you have some musical skills up your sleeve, grab the guitar and get everyone sat around the fire for a good old fashioned singalong.
What can you cook for Bonfire Night?
There are tons of yummy recipes to try this Bonfire Night. Some of our favorites include burgers and hot dogs (grilled up outdoors), baked potatoes, toffee apples, baked goods such as cinnamon swirls and brownies, and anything pumpkin-related. Don't forget the hot chocolate too, made extra special with whipped cream and marshmallows.
For serious winter grilling, you could also try your hand at cooking up a Tomahawk steak with apples, bourbon and sage, as Char-Broil (opens in new tab) suggests. 'The ingredients of the BBQ Brothers provide a charming contrast to this rustic beef cut: a little maple syrup, Granny Smith apples, butter, and matured Bulleit Bourbon become a sweet apple ragout,' they explain. 'Due to the high butter content, it is even reminiscent of a butterscotch dessert.'
Bonfire Night party safety tips
Although Bonfire Night is loads of fun, there are, of course, some safety precautions to bear in mind. Most of these are around fireworks – for instance, you must light them at arm's length and then stand well back, keep them in a closed box when not in use, and never walk around with them in your pockets. Pets should be kept indoors whilst you're enjoying the display.
There are obviously risks with open fires too. Just remember to keep them away from buildings and flammable materials, supervise them at all times, only use dry material to reduce smoke, and never put dangerous items such as aerosol cans or batteries on them, which can explode or release toxic fumes. Keeping a hose or bucket nearby is also a good idea, just in case.
If you're lighting a traditional bonfire, check for inhabiting wildlife, such as hedgehogs, beforehand.
The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion.
- Beth MurtonEditor, Gardeningetc
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