Posts Tagged ‘bonfire safety’

I hope that you all had a very enjoyable Halloween and now we look forward to Bonfire Night!

Penny for the Guy

When I was young I remember knocking on the doors of neighbours with my friends and asking them if they had any old wood that they didn’t want for our bonfire and also if they had a ‘Penny for the Guy’ who was sat in our wheelbarrow wearing our old clothes and stuffed with newspaper/leaves/straw, the money went towards fireworks, thinking about it now it does seem rather cheeky although I suppose it is not too different to trick or treating which seems to have taken over.

The ‘Guy’ represents Guy Fawkes who was a member of the conspiracy who intended to blow up the Houses of Parliament on 5th November 1605, the Gunpowder plot was thwarted when he was caught the night before guarding 36 barrels of gunpowder in the cellars beneath the House of Lords.

I can’t remember the last time I saw children’s asking for a ‘penny for the guy’ it is such a shame that this tradition has died out, it is harmless fun although not for the Guy who unfortunately takes pride of place at the top of the bonfire.

Bonfire Night is all about keeping warm by the bonfire, watching fireworks, eating delicious treats and having fun here are some tasty easy to eat snacks for you to try:


Home-made Popcorn


  • Popcorn Kernels/Popping Corn
  • Flavouring of your choice: Icing Sugar, Salt, Honey, Butter

What you need to do

  1. Place the popcorn kernels in one layer on the bottom of a heavy-based, deep pan with a tight fitting lid.
  2. Place on the stove on a medium heat with the lid on.
  3. Stay nearby as you need to listen to the kernels as they pop, at the beginning they will pop vigorously, when it slows down to a second or two between the pops remove from the heat.
  4. Wait a few minutes for the popcorn to cool, carefully remove the lid and place in a bowl, whilst warm sprinkle over the sugar, salt, runny honey or melted butter and stir.

Johns Red Apple plot

Spicy Apple Crisps


  • 2 large red skinned eating apples
  • Cinnamon and Nutmeg
  • Spray Oil

What you need to do

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/140C Fan/Gas 3. Core and thinly slice the apples ideally with a mandolin (adults only) which will give even slices.
  2. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and spray lightly with oil.
  3. Lay the apple slices out on the tray so that they are not touching and sprinkle with the spices.
  4. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes turn over the slices and if required sprinkle again with the spices.
  5. Return to the oven for about 30 minutes, check regularly and remove any crisps that are golden brown.
  6. Allow to cool on a baking rack.

Edible Chocolate Sparklers


  • Bread Sticks
  • Chocolate
  • Syrup
  • Cake decorations (stars, edible glitter, hundreds and thousands)

What you need to do

  1. Melt the chocolate in the microwave and add some syrup so that the chocolate doesn’t set too quickly.
  2. Spread or brush (with a silicone brush) the chocolate on one half of the bread stick, then sprinkle with your favourite cake decorations, why not also try popping candy, nuts, desiccated coconut or even Rice Krispies or Coco Pops.
  3. Leave to set then enjoy.


Don’t forget Garden Wildlife on Bonfire Night

With all the excitement of bonfire night don’t forget about the wildlife in your garden.  Make sure the bonfire isn’t set up too far in advance, as hedgehogs, small mammals and frogs/toads will be looking for somewhere to hibernate at this time of year, and may find a pile of leaves and wood enticing.  Why not provide hedgehogs/frogs/toads with an alternative home such as a Hogitat or a Frogitat. Click here to see a large selection of Wildlife Habitats.

Place fireworks away from trees and hedges where birds may be roosting, when bonfire night is over remember that now is an excellent time to start feeding your garden birds.  Click here to have a look at our bird feeders and accessories.

Safety is paramount on Bonfire Night click here for a reminder of the rules and tips for a safe and enjoyable Bonfire Night.


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There is no doubt about it, it is a very exciting week for children and adults too, the Halloween costumes and decorations been just been packed away, and now we are looking forward to Bonfire night this Thursday. Bonfire nights are great fun with a lovely roaring fire to keep you warm, spectacular fireworks and delicious treats to eat such as Parkin, treacle toffee and toffee apples, unfortunately not everyone enjoys Bonfire Night, spare a thought for our wildlife and of course our pets.

Hedgehogs are having a tough time, and their numbers are declining which is a huge concern, at this time of year they will be looking for a cosy place to hibernate and may have chosen the pile of twigs and wood that you have been gathering for your bonfire for their winter retreat, on the afternoon of your planned bonfire night have a good look through your bonfire and if necessary dismantle it to check for sleeping hedgehogs, you may also find frogs, toads, newts, grass snakes, mice and voles that need re-locating to a safe part of your garden.

Cats and dogs should be kept indoors, consider also bringing in rabbits and guinea pigs that are normally kept in cages outside, keep the curtains and windows closed and leave on the television/radio and the lights to disguise the loud bangs and flashes, in rural areas you may want to bring horses and donkeys in to their stables.

If you are planning a display with loud bangs, let your neighbours know especially those with pets, the elderly and families with young children, fireworks are fun but not everyone enjoys them.

Firework safety is very important, follow these rules to stay safe:

  • Only buy fireworks that comply with British Standard 7114 or its European equivalent.
  • Keep fireworks away from children and in a closed box.
  • Read and follow the instructions on each firework and check that they are suitable for home use.
  • Make sure that everyone is stood at a safe distance.
  • Light fireworks at arm’s length using a taper and stand well back.
  • Direct rockets away from spectators and nearby buildings/trees.
  • Never go near a firework that has been lit, if it hasn’t gone off it still may explode.
  • Never throw fireworks or put them in your pocket.
  • Always supervise children around fireworks and bonfires, make sure you know where they are at all times.

Sparklers can be beautiful but they are not toys, did you know that sparklers can reach temperatures 15 times hotter than boiling water?

  • Always supervise children with sparklers.
  • Don’t give sparklers to children under five years old.
  • Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves.
  • Teach children to hold them at arm’s length and not near anyone else.
  • Have a bucket of water handy to put the sparklers in as soon as they have gone out.

Before you begin constructing your bonfire here are some guidelines to ensure that everyone is safe and everything goes to plan.

  • Build your bonfire in the open away from sheds, fences, trees and overhead power lines and cables and not near a road as drifting smoke may cause a traffic hazard, burning damp materials will create a lot of smoke.
  • Don’t build it too large, you can add more twigs/wood later, make sure that it is stable so that it won’t collapse outwards or to one side.
  • Don’t use petrol or paraffin to start the fire, these accelerate the flames and may cause the fire to burn out of control.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a hose pipe handy just in case.
  • Don’t leave the fire unattended, at the end of the night once the fire has died down pour water over the embers to stop them re-igniting.

Here are some ideas for quick, no cook children’s treats for that last minute Bonfire Night celebration.

Edible Sparklers

Dip Chocolate fingers quickly into warm water and then into hundreds and thousands to make your very own edible sparklers.

Children’s Punch

Take some warm apple juice, add small slices of oranges and sprinkle in cinnamon for a warming drink.

Popping Chocolate Apples

Melt some milk chocolate in a bowl in the microwave, insert lolly sticks into small eating apples next to the stalk, then dip and spin your apples in the melted chocolate, sprinkle with popping candy and place on greaseproof paper in the fridge to set.

Have a very safe and fun Bonfire Night


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