1. Top up on coffee
Knowing the British weather, there’s a good chance that November 5th will be cold or wet, so hot drinks will keep your guests from freezing. Lay in plenty of your favourite coffee beans so that you won’t run out of coffee drinks. Keep coffee warm in vacuum flasks, and offer hot chocolate, non-alcoholic punch or mulled wine as alternatives.
2. Plan the fire
Choose a safe location for your bonfire, away from overhanging trees, wooden buildings or power cables. If you’re tight for space, build a temporary fire pit by digging a hole around 12 – 18 inches deep and edging it with stones. This will help keep a fire from running out of control. Don’t forget to have a hosepipe or other water source on hand for emergencies.
3. Decide on the menu
Potatoes baked in the fire always sound romantic, but in reality your guests risk keeling over from hunger before anything’s ready to eat. Keep some alternative food on hand, such as sausages, cooked on a barbecue and finished on the fire for that authentic flavour; marshmallows on sticks; parkin cake and vegetarian vegetable kebabs. If the potatoes survive the fire and are still edible, it’s a bonus.
4. Plan ahead
As well as food and drink don’t forget to plan for chairs and blankets for older guests, as well as disposable cups, plates, napkins and cutlery. Make the clearing up easier by offering individual portions of milk and sugar to accompany hot drinks, and position some strategic bins for rubbish.
5. Keep safe
Even at a small private function, accidents happen. Put the fireworks in charge of one person, and ban them from hitting them mulled wine too early. Have buckets of water and a first aid kit on hand, and make sure that any pets or neighbours’ animals are safely shut up indoors.
We wish you an excellent Guy Fawkes night!