The mere thought of hosting a party at home is enough to make most people lose their nerve, never mind a Bonfire Night one that includes fireworks, children, pets and mulled wine!
Fret not, however. Taking inspiration from our Guide to Entertaining Etiquette, we've put together five tips to ensure that your evening dazzles your guests as much as the rockets exploding in the night's sky.
- Neighbours: Warn your neighbours - especially if they are pet-owners - and preferably invite them to the party. Be careful not to position the bonfire upwind of neighbours' houses - when it comes to fires, less is more.
- Safety: Keep fireworks in a closed box until the party. Prepare fireworks carefully (e.g. nail the Catherine wheel to a tree, position the rockets in flowerbeds etc.) well before the guests arrive. Ensure there is a safe buffer zone between fireworks and guests.
- Mulled Wine: To maximise the flavours (and preserve the alcohol!), add the sugar, spices and just enough red wine to cover it all in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil for 5 minutes. This creates a delicious syrup to which you only need to add the remaining red wine, and switch the heat to low to warm it through.
- Children: It goes without saying that they shouldn't go anywhere near fireworks or the bonfire. Keep plenty of sparklers on hand to keep them amused in between the bursts of fireworks. Ensure they wear gloves and keep sparklers at arm's length.
- Timing: Keep the firework display contained to a certain timeframe (e.g. 7.30 - 8pm). Sporadic bursts throughout the evening may irritate neighbours and disappoint guests. Make sure to have food and drink ready to serve afterwards too.
So, get the cocktail sausages in the oven, open the red wine, take a few breaths, relax and enjoy! The five tips above will help you pull off a Bonfire Night to remember. Cheers!