Bonfire Night, or Guy Fawkes’ Night is a uniquely British event with a macabre background: Guy Fawkes was one of the people who led the Gunpowder Plot against King James I by blowing up Parliament with tons of explosives. The plot was foiled and now we annually burn an effigy of Guy Fawkes every November on the 5th.
Here are some ideas to get your kids really into the spirit of things!
Make A Guy!
You'll need some old clothes: get some old dungarees (or sew trousers and a t-shirt together at the waist), some stockings, gloves, a jumper and a woolly hat. Fit them together and stuff them with newspaper until they look like a person. For the head, stuff a knee-high or the foot of a stocking to capacity and either draw on the face or put a mask on it.
Traditionally, the guy is wheeled about during the day, and the makers ask for ‘a penny for the guy’ so as to buy some fireworks.
Take your Guy with you to your fireworks party or burn him on your own bonfire!
Make Your Own Toffee Apples!
Ok, ok, so they may not be good for your teeth, but what bonfire night would be complete without a chewy, delicious toffee apple? Here’s how to get stuck in:
First, to make the caramel, take
225g demerara sugar
1 tbsp of golden syrup
Mix all this together in a saucepan until boiling for about 10 minutes and it should become thick, dark and sticky.
Then, stick thick wooden skewers through the cores of 6-8 eating apples (this is a great use for golden delicious!). Holding the apple by the skewer so as not to burn yourself on the hot caramel, dunk the apples in the caramel, coat them thoroughly, then put them on a plate to cool and harden.
Try white sugar or put a drop or two of food colouring into the mix for a completely different effect, and if you’re making these a bit in advance, they’ll last for a couple of days if you wrap them in cellophane.
Learn the rhyme!
Once you've told your kids the story, see if you can teach them the rhyme so they will always remember what's special about the 5th of November!
Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot,
We see no reason,
Why gunpowder treason,
Should ever be forgot!
Go see some fireworks!
If you're keen to see some fireworks near you, there are some terrific November events all over the UK. Check out your local government site for smaller listings, or take a look at some of these fantastic, large scale bonfire extravaganzas across the UK!
Pay close attention to young children and to pets around the time of the celebrations, even if you’re not at a party. Celebrate safely and introduce all your children to the Fireworks Code (print it out and put it on your fridge door...).