Remember, remember, the fifth of November, gunfire, treason and plot. When we think of Bonfire Night, most of us initially think of Guy Fawkes, a man who was involved with the Gunpowder Plot – a plan to blow up parliament – in 1605. To this day, the demise of his attempts are remembered with bonfires and firework displays held across the United Kingdom, as the skies are lit up with incredible and colourful displays. As we get ready to bundle up in our thickest layers and wooly hat and gloves, we fill our pockets with treacle toffees and a good quality camera to capture the magic of the celebration. Whether attending a community celebration or celebrating at home, those of us that love fireworks can’t wait for the special day to hit our calendars.
Those who haven’t been to a community Bonfire Night before will need to memorise the tips and tricks we swear by!
When attending a community celebration, we dig out our wellies in preparation for the muddy field and fill our car boot with clean shoes, so as not to decorate the car with a mess of mud on our way home! We always do our best to make time to park a distance away from the display – no one wants to wait in traffic for an hour whilst trying to leave… Don’t forget to fill your pockets with treacle toffee and some coins in case there are any sweet treats for sale you simply can’t resist! While we film or photograph the beautiful fireworks and listen to the surrounding people muttering ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ we huddle up near the bonfire to share its warmth. Those who haven’t grown up in the UK might not know that an effigy (wooden crafted model) of Guy Fawkes is usually placed atop bonfires before they’re lit, symbolising how he was punished for his crime. This is likely why the events are accompanied with fireworks – to take our minds away from that fact! Going to a community display is fun and easy, but you won’t enjoy it quite so much without your fluffy scarf, thermal gloves and a warm hat!
Those of us celebrating at home have many rules to follow. First of all, we must remember not to begin assembling the bonfire beforehand – little creatures such as hedgehogs have been known to crawl between the wooden pieces for shelter from the harsh November wind. Whilst someone arranges the bonfire, someone else must make sure the fireworks are carefully arranged so they will not set the wooden garden fence alight… yes, it happens! The next step is to fill bowls with treacle toffee, toffee apples and wrapped sweets, while putting the kettle on for creamy marshmallow-topped hot chocolate! As we gather around the fire to make s’mores and roast marshmallows, we can watch in wonder as the sky is filled with colour from the displays across the neighbourhood. As the children wave around sparklers, the adults snuggle up in blankets to enjoy a cocktail or three while trying to coax their pets out of their hiding places.
Children and Fireworks
Many children and babies are terrified by the loud bangs and sizzles of the fireworks. Those with babies – don’t fear! Once a child is old enough to understand Bonfire Night and the magic surrounding it, many will be excited for the loud bangs and booms, however others will choose to dig out their ear muffs and wait for the noise to die down. Try to enthuse children by giving them firework drawings to colour in and show them videos of fireworks online to gage their reactions to the often frightening but magical displays. Excite them with the bonfire and help them to melt their marshmallows for a tasty treat. There are countless creative ideas available online and via Pinterest, from artsy paintings and crafts to fun food ideas – whoever thought of putting three cocktail sausages on a stick with a triangular slice of cheese above them to create a firework rocket shape has a brilliant mind!
Pets and Fireworks
The same goes for pets – they simply don’t understand what is going on outdoors and may find a hiding place to escape to. There are many products available from vets and online which help to calm your pets down and help them to relax so give them a try – although don’t forget, the bangs can be very loud, so have no expectations! Some animals are not affected in any way by the sounds while others will happily sleep through the madness around them.
It’s not only children and pets who may be scared of fireworks!
If you hate Bonfire Night more and more each year and find yourself hiding in a den made with sofa cushions and comfy blankets whilst wearing sound-decreasing ear muffs, don’t panic. It’s understandable that many people with PTSD or other anxieties find themselves tensing up as we get closer to the fifth of November (and New Year’s Eve) and it may seem like the bangs will last forever, but just remember that it’s only two nights a year. Surround yourself with tasty treats and an extra large wine glass whilst watching your favourite movie at top volume to drown out the sounds. And neighbours – if you fancy enjoying a fireworks display on any other day of the year, be respectful and watch one on YouTube. Have you ever watched a display where the fireworks are synchronised to music? They are especially magical!
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