Bonfire Night: Family Rituals to Embrace

Bonfire Night: Family Rituals to Embrace

Remember, remember, the 5th of November,

Gunpowder, treason and plot.

I see no reason

Why gunpowder treason

Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, 'twas his intent

To blow up the King and the Parliament

Three score barrels of powder below

Poor old England to overthrow

By God's providence he was catch'd

With a dark lantern and burning match

Holler boys, holler boys, let the bells ring

Holler boys, holler boys

God save the King!


A traditional rhyme via Words for Life, a National Literacy Trust initiative

Welcome Bonfire Night! One of England’s quirkier festivals, combining a somewhat macabre historical event with a yearly brightening of the night sky. However you feel about the origins of Bonfire Night, or Guy Fawkes Night, it’s hard to deny the fun involved in seasonal festivities of fireworks, hotdogs, warm soup and sparklers! So cosy! At Eeny Meeny we love this time of year. Some children find joy in the fireworks, pops, whizzes and bangs of a firework display. Others may find it a little overwhelming. Whichever way your family falls, here we’ll be sharing a range of family rituals to embrace at this time of year. Enjoy!

In the daytime

Bonfire night is usually seen as an evening festival (understandably) - but there are plenty of ways to start the celebrations earlier in the day. Why not play the ‘knife and fork chocolate game’ to practice donning your warm knitted gear for later? You will need a pile of gloves, hats, and scarves, a chocolate bar in its wrapper, a knife and fork, and dice (we have a Giant Dice Set here). Sit in a circle and take it in turns to roll a 6. Whoever rolls a 6 then has to quickly don the knitwear and try to get into the chocolate bar with a knife and fork! While this is happening, the other plays keep rolling the dice. The person wearing the knitwear has as long as it takes for another player to roll a 6 to try and get into the chocolate. When someone else rolls, it’s their turn over. The winner is the first person to get into the chocolate bar and eat the chocolate! 

Start the evening with a bonfire supper

In my family, a wonderful ritual we share is one started by my mother in law Julie. We have a bonfire supper! This usually involves a root vegetable soup - pumpkins, butternut squash, followed by hotdogs (vegan in our house), and usually apple crumble or toffee apples. A really simple set-up which can be home made, or store-bought. The key here is about warmth, seasonal ingredients and having a simple cosy supper together. Before our little ones joined our family, we would walk to a hill near their house and watch the various firework displays going off afterwards. You might like to have the savoury portion of your bonfire supper, head out in the dark, then pop back for your apple crumble to warm you up afterwards! This is a lovely, simple tradition to mark the season.

Visiting a display (and an alternative)

Of course, a go-to activity for bonfire night itself is visiting a fireworks display near you. We advocate for visiting a larger, communal display as opposed to buying your own fireworks if you are aiming for a more sustainable option. Remember to wrap up warm (half the fun). You could add to the magic by playing firework bingo - simply make a list of the fireworks your little ones are likely to spot, and tick them off as you go!

If your little ones aren’t sure about the noise and loud nature of a firework display, why not have a small bonfire at home and make s’mores? Collect sticks and set up a small bonfire if you have a garden for roasting the s’mores - or alternatively simply make them in your kitchen with a simple recipe like this one.

End the evening with a whizzy bath!

Whether you visited a firework display or not, a wonderful way to finish off the fun of the evening is with a ‘whizzy bath’ with child-friendly bath bombs. You might like to make your own bath bombs as a family activity (the BBC have a great recipe here) or alternatively buy some sustainable bath bombs in preparation. MiniU have a lovely selection of scented fizzy wonders with a special surprise inside, and even offer a Rocket Bath Bomb to really fit with the time of year! Children are sure to love watching the fizzes released as you drop them in, which will be especially fun for little ones who weren’t quite ready to watch a louder firework display outdoors. 


We hope you enjoy this cosy evening of festivities and can add to your family memories. Stay safe and enjoy!

Emily Hanson

Freelance Writer, Education and Play Specialist

Emily Hanson is a freelance writer with specialisms in education and play. Emily holds a PGCE and M.Ed from the University of Cambridge - although her proudest achievements are her two beautiful daughters.

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