Remember, remember, the fifth of November… To be honest, as much as we may remind ourselves to bear this date in mind, it’s easy to forget how downright bizarre a holiday it is. Back in 1605, a group of fourteen English Catholics who were tired of being persecuted by the monarch decided to take a stand. Renting a cellar under the House of Lords, these conspirators began stockpiling gunpowder barrels with the intention of blowing up Parliament and, with it, the most powerful men in Britain. An anonymous letter to the authorities, however, saw that these actions never took place, leading to the men involved being hanged, drawn and quartered, as well as enduring all number of unthinkable obscenities.
Which, when it comes down to it, is an awfully strange thing to celebrate every year. Thankfully, over time, the true nature of bonfire night has gradually been eclipsed by a something altogether more pleasant. Far from thinking about religious wars and disembowelments, we tend to picture friends and family gathered together, edible delights and flashes of brilliant colour. Events pop up all over the country, from glittering gatherings outside community centres to stunning showcases in public parks, drawing in droves of spectators who want to eat, drink and be merry.
Sometimes, though, this can all get to be a bit much. The sounds, the smells and the surging crowds are a nice idea in theory, but they can often make you long for something more personal. Luckily for you, we’re on hand to show you how you can host your own bonfire night from the comfort of your own home! All you have to do is follow these simple steps, and you’ll have a fifth of November that you will certainly remember, remember…
First and foremost, if you’re going to host a bonfire night, you’re going to need a bonfire. It’s just common sense. Building a fire is pretty straightforward: gather dry leaves, paper or wood shavings to use for tinder (no, not that Tinder), stack small pieces of wood on top to kindle (no, not that Kindle) and then gradually assemble larger bits of firewood in a tepee formation so that your spark can grow. Surround the fire with rocks or logs so that it remains controlled, or even start it in that fire pit that sits wedged at the back of your garage, and don’t forget to maintain plenty of distance. Oh, and don’t throw refuse or aerosol cans in there. That’s how headlines start, people.
Come on, let your colours burst. Make ‘em go, ‘aah, aah, aah.’ You’re gonna leave ‘em all in awe, awe, awe. This is not just an inspirational little pop ditty by Katy Perry but a promise of what will happen if you do this stage correctly. Give yourself plenty of space, designate one person at a time to be Chief Firework Setter-Offer and stand back in appreciation. Be sure you’ve practiced your ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ beforehand, too. Do all of this and, baby, you’ll be a firework.
As in all situations in life, food is of utmost importance. Whether you’re bonkers for burgers, jonesing for a jacket potato or a hound for a hot dog, make sure that you’re fully stocked and fully prepared for the culinary demands of the night. Make good use of that 12-piece kitchen pan set to knock up a batch of your famous chilli. Get your money’s worth out of that griddle pan and serve a scintillating sizzling steak. Or maybe prepare a bowl of fresh salad with those cutting edge knives that you have. Whatever you plump for, you’re going to have some very happy punters.
Aside from the burning effigy of a 17th century ‘terrorist’, the most enduring image of the fifth of November is the coveted toffee apple. Symbolising the decedent delights that the night has come to represent, the sugar-coated fruit is the perfect naughty-but-nice treat. But why stop there? Put that tin of black treacle to use and knock up a batch of bonfire toffee. Dust off that long-neglected fondue set, melt some chocolate and toast some marshmallows. Or, if the kids are cosy and tucked up in bed, slice up some apples, toss in some spices and mull yourself some cider. Delightfully devilish.
Finally, what would a night among friends be without what Shakespeare called ‘the food of love’? One of the main drawbacks of public firework events is that you’re completely at the mercy of the DJ. If, like us, you just don’t have it in you to sit through Kool & the Gang’s ‘Celebration’ or James Brown’s ‘I Feel Good’ for the umpteenth time, then this is your time to shine. Give those wireless Bluetooth speakers a good workout as you soundtrack a night of explosions, raging fires and searing sparklers. Come on, show ‘em what you’re worth!
If you don’t think you have what it takes to create a successful bonfire night (although with this guide, how could you go wrong?!), just head along to Harrow Fireworks Display for just £3 with Wowcher instead!
Happy bonfire night!
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