Every year, on the 5th of November, people in the U.K gather around warm bonfires, and expansive firework displays capture the imagination of the young and old. The holiday commemorates the failure of the 1605 Gunpowder plot, where Guy Fawkes and others were caught attempting to blow up parliament. In the aftermath, the government made the 5th of November a national holiday, and people have been celebrating Bonfire Night ever since.
What does this mean for promoters?
It means that you should prioritise Bonfire Night events in your yearly planning.
The traditional Bonfire Night event has the potential to offer variety, with many different ideas for mini-stalls across the night. It’s a multi-generational celebration. This means you can focus on events aimed at families and children or adults who like to party.
In this article, we’ve compiled nine ideas for Bonfire Night events this year.
Traditional ideas for Bonfire Night events
The warm reds and deep yellows of a towering bonfire are intrinsic to an outdoor Bonfire Night celebration. It’s where friends will catch up and families will gather, one of the main attractions before and after the fireworks kick off.
Historically, people would burn effigies of Guy Fawkes — one of the central players of the gunpowder plot — on bonfires. To channel some of that spirit, consider holding a ‘best guy’ competition at your Bonfire Night event this year. You could encourage attendees to make their own, handing prizes out to the best ones.
The holiday could be an excellent chance to raise some money for charity. Consider donating a percentage of your fees to various charities, and have collection buckets across the event.
Firework displays are a chance to dazzle your attendees with breathtaking arrangements.
Hiring an award-winning firework display company to provide the fireworks for your Bonfire Night event could help you deliver a truly unique experience to your attendees.
You could collaborate with them to design fireworks based on family-friendly films or TV shows, which are widely known and appeal to a broad spectrum of people. Combining this with music from the media you choose to base your display on would create an immersive event that captures the imagination of your guests.
Many reputable fireworks companies create bespoke displays. Some of these companies have even competed in British championships, so if you hire a company like this, use any stand-out facts about the company as a central tenet of your marketing campaign.
Marshmallow toasting station
Toasted marshmallows are a classic and tasty sweet treat for Bonfire Night.
If you’re running a Bonfire Night event with a lot of space, a marshmallow toasting station could be part of the stalls along with food, drink and attractions. Equally, you could use a smaller fire pit at a terrace event.
For an outdoor event, create space between your toasting station and other attractions. With an indoor event, consider opening the station at a set time. Safety is paramount when fire is involved, and you want to ensure your guests aren’t in any danger.
Close-up shots of toasted marshmallows can make for great pictures, so make sure to get snaps of your guests at the toasting station to use to promote the event afterwards.
Ideas for Bonfire Night events aimed at adults
Bonfire Night food & drink festival
A Bonfire Night event always features food and drink. It’s all part of the night, stopping off for a bite to eat after the firework display and before visiting the event’s attractions.
A mini food and drink festival could make up one part of a Bonfire Night event or be held in a venue as a sole idea for a Bonfire Night event. If the festival is part of a Bonfire Night event, you could use two separate tents or gazebos: one for food and another for drinks. From there, you can serve a mixture of traditional, hearty Bonfire Night food and street food from local vendors.
Sweet treats are an essential part of any Bonfire Night event, so don’t forget toffee apples, candy floss, hot doughnuts and other tasty dessert options like frozen pumpkin cheesecake.
The drinks menu could consist of locally brewed beers, spiced ciders, chai teas and hot chocolate, both regular and spiced. Make sure to offer a range of choices, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, as you’ll be serving people across the generations.
Bonfire Night Party
There are various ideas for a Bonfire Night event aimed at adults.
If you have access to a venue with a terrace, you could organise an evening of food, drinks and music, with the firework display making up the night’s main event. As Bonfire Night falls in the colder months, consider serving up warming food and drink, such as mulled cider and slow-cooked casserole.
Consider organising a Bonfire Night masquerade party. This event type puts a spin on the classic masquerade ball, with attendees arriving in Guy Fawkes masks instead of the traditional disguise.
The image of a venue full of people wearing the Guy Fawkes mask is striking, so it could make for great social media content. It’s also a fun way to make your regular club night a little different from the rest.
Guy Fawkes quiz
As we mentioned earlier in the piece, Bonfire Night originated from the gunpowder plot and the name ‘Guy Fawkes Night’ comes from one of its central players.
Your quiz could open with some general trivia around Bonfire Night, delve into the history of the gunpowder plot, ask questions about Fawkes’ life and the other people behind the plan.
Offer prizes to the winning group of the quiz. If you’re hosting the quiz as part of a larger Bonfire Night event and are organising a food and drinks tent, you could offer a free meal and drink as part of the prizes.
Ideas for Bonfire Night events aimed at Children
Mini theatre production
Behind the sparklers and fireworks of Bonfire Night is the story of Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot.
This Bonfire Night, consider hosting a small theatre production detailing the holiday’s history and how it became such a fixture in Britain.
This type of production would be aimed at younger audiences, designed to add an educational aspect to the Bonfire Night celebrations. You could collaborate with a local drama group in your area; the performance making up one part of the whole Bonfire Night event.
Equally, you could host the performance in a different location on the weekend as a pre or post-Bonfire Night event.
Traditional funfair games
There are a few ways to implement fun and games into your Bonfire Night event.
If you’re organising a medium-sized Bonfire Night event, you could bring in games like hook-a-duck, coconut shy and fish bowl toss. These traditional games appeal to the whole family, and you can hire vendors to supply the equipment, which is often painted in a vibrant, vintage style with lots of bright colours.
Many party game vendors offer peep boards for hire, too. These are decorated boards with the head cut out, so attendees can get behind them for a fun photo opportunity. You could offer photo opportunities with the chance to get the picture made into a keyring, or guests can simply pay for the picture.
The second way of implementing fun and games into your Bonfire Night event is through larger funfair rides.
If you’ve got a lot of space to work with, you can hire funfair rides like dodgems, waltzers, helter-skelter and Miami rides. Miami rides are ideal, as they can be packed onto one trailer, built and packed away quickly.
These funfair rides can give your event an extra angle as they are more likely to appeal to older children and adults. It will mean your event has a variety of attractions, which you can use in the marketing to make the event stand out from the crowd.
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