How to throw the perfect fireworks party

Event Manager Julia Sibun on how to light up your night this winter – or indeed on any other night of the year

If you are nervous about a having a party at home, Bonfire Night is far and away the best night to get on and do it. But you don’t need to limit yourself to 5th November - a well-planned fireworks party can light up any night of the year.

Fireworks are always popular, and there’s something about fun outdoor parties that make people drop their inhibitions and relax. We are all children at heart and there is still a wonderful fascination and excitement with holding a sparkler, or waiting and watching an exhilarating and colourful firework display in the dark of the night.

You will need to allocate some space at the far end of your garden for the display to be set up – please note that all firework packaging will come with the recommended safety distances (don’t forget to check the small print). But you don’t have to have a large garden, in fact there is a company, www.indoorfireworks.co.uk, that allows you to have a fireworks display on the kitchen table!

For the real deal in the garden, though, you will need to measure the safety distances. The safest way to set up a firework display is to choose the area where your guests are going to stand, then measure out a ‘clearance distance’ which should be a minimum of eight metres (it may have to go up to twenty-five metres depending on how big a bang you are planning!). Once you have measured out your clearance area to the ‘take off’ point, you will the need to measure out a similar amount for a fall-out space. If your fall-out space happens to include your neighbour’s garden as well it is polite to either invite them to the party, or just to let them know.

After you have allocated your area have a think about the kind of fireworks that you like – modern firework companies such as Jonathan’s Fireworks and Kimbolton Fireworks stock amazing and inventive ranges of fireworks, and you can even watch videos of some of the fireworks before you buy them.

You can purchase multi-shot cakes where you only need to light one fuse which will set the fireworks off one by one, and also roman candles where you have multiple shots in them, rather than the single shot of the past. Of course there are also the old favourites - fountains, Catherine wheels and sparklers.

Now to providing your guests with rich, filling autumn food to help them enjoy the festivities! The food ideally needs to be held in one hand with the other free for a glass of hot, spiced cider, mulled wine, or a bottle of the local brew. Spicy sausages work well, especially served in fresh French bread with lots of mustard, ketchup and caramelised onions.

Homemade burgers are ideal, too - use high quality beef mince and mix in some finely chopped onion, parmesan cheese, finely grated carrot, an egg yolk and pepper and salt. Leave the patties for an hour or so in the fridge before popping on to the BBQ if cooking outside. Alternatively, you can put large field mushrooms into the oven covered with butter and chopped garlic and then pop them into crunchy bread sandwiches.

Eco-friendly cups of pumpkin or squash soup are always popular and can be served out of the pumpkin – very easy to make from the leftover pumpkins from Halloween.  Other delicious eats include parmesan garlic baguettes, baked camembert in their wooden boxes with plain bread to dip, honey-glazed chicken wings and cheesy sausage rolls.

Your guests will certainly want to follow on with a touch of sweetness – why not hand round plates of sticky ginger cake, gooey chocolate brownies or Rocky Road, as well as those time-honoured children’s favourites - bonfire toffee apples and giant marshmallows on toasting fork.

But we must not forget the best part of the evening – standing around the bonfire! If you have enough room for fireworks, you have enough room for a bonfire for everyone to sit around after the fireworks are finished. Guests standing at a roaring bonfire at the beginning of the evening, or staring into glowing embers at the end of the night is perhaps the best time for a bit of a chat and some banter. What a better way to be with family and friends and begin the long dark nights of November?

Don’t forget the fuel supplies for the bonfire – wooden pallets are perfect as they allow the air to get into the bottom of the heap and create a good updraught. If you are using logs you need to stack them in a log cabin style square with plenty of space between them and in the centre, which you then stuff with newspapers and other kindling. Keep an eye on the fire throughout the evening to ensure that it does not go out, and of course keep the young ones at bay.

If you do not have an ideal location for a bonfire then it is definitely worth purchasing one of the Kadai fire bowls to keep the fire safe and contained. The fire bowls are available in all sizes, and as well as keeping you warm you can also cook your sausages and burgers on them! They are in fact useful all year round as they are excellent for summer BBQs.

Keep everyone warm during the chilly evening with delicious hot drinks such as gingerbread lattes, chilli hot chocolate with marshmallows, salted caramel hot chocolate and Naughty Nutella hot chocolate.

Finally, hanging colourful festoon lights around the garden makes for a lovely atmosphere, together with adding paraffin garden flares dotted along the pathways and driveway – they’ll show your guests the way home after enjoying a wonderful festive evening on a chilly winter’s night.

For more information about weddings, parties and events please contact Julia Sibun via www.juliasibun.co.uk or on 07974 778806.