Any old excuse for a party right? And as Guy Fawkes Night falls on a Saturday this year, we're sure there'll be bonfire parties happening up and down the country. Here are a few tips to make your party go with a bang!
How to... make your Guy.
- Use an old pillow as the body of the Guy.
- Using string, tie the arms of an old shirt at the wrist and then stuff the arms with anything that will bulk them out. Straw is the traditional material but any old rags or newspaper will do - the more the better.
- Dress your old pillow with the shirt and any other jacket or waistcoat that you may wish to add. Remember it‘s often easier to use clothes with buttons or fastenings rather than attempting to pull jumpers on to the pillow body – and the bigger the items the better to ensure that don’t have to squeeze the Guy in to clothes that are too small.
- Thinking about the Guy’s legs, do the same as you did with the shirt but instead with an old pair of trousers – tying the bottom of the trousers with string before filling it with material to create the limbs.
- Secure the filled trousers to the main body of the Guy with long strings or an old belt. You may even consider a few well placed stitches to ensure it is held secure.
- To make the head use an old plain coloured pillow case that is, again, stuffed with anything that will create a rounded shape – although be careful to ensure it is not a ball or anything that might explode when the flames get to it.
- Once complete you can have fun adding the face of the Guy – whether directly on to the pillow case or by making, or buying, a mask to fix to the pillow case.
- To complete the Guy secure the head to the main body with long strings again and then add a scarf, hat or even wig – it’s a great chance to really ‘go to town’ with the finishing touches.
- Position the Guy on the top of the unlit bonfire until it is ready to be set alight ensuring there is no danger that it will fall on anyone standing by when the flames ignite.
- Take a photo of your Guy for prosperity and then sit back and admire your creativity as the bonfire is lit and the Bonfire Night celebrations begin.
How to... keep your pets safe
- If you have a dog, try walking them earlier before it gets dark when fireworks are more likely to be going off.
- Make sure your pet has a safe haven, somewhere they can hide if they want to such as a box, under some furniture or a quiet corner and don’t try and tempt them out as this can make them more stressed.
- There’s a range of calming products available for pets including Adaptil or Feliway. These produce pheromones to help support and comfort your pet.
- Keep pets indoors during the evenings and at night and ensure pets microchip and identification tag details are up-to-date should your pet escape.
- Don’t punish your pets if they’re scared. This will only make things worse in the future.
- When fireworks are going off, make sure your curtains are closed and pop on some music or the TV to mask the sound – especially if you’re going out.
- Ignore the noises yourself and try and distract your pet by playing.
How to... cook a bonfire toffee apple crumble
- 100g raisins
- 100g chopped dates
- 85g muscovado sugar
- 3 tbsp dark rum
- 25g unsalted butter
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 4 cooking apples – peeled, cored and chopped
For the crumble
- 125g plain flour
- 100g unsalted butter
- 50g muscovado sugar
- 3 tbsp porridge oats
Heat oven to 190C/375F/gas 5. Put everything for the apple layer, except the lemon juice and apples, into a bowl and microwave on High for 1½ mins until the butter has melted and the sugar is syrupy. Toss in the apples and lemon juice, then spoon into a medium baking dish, making sure the dried fruit is evenly distributed.
Rub the flour and butter together, first into fine crumbs, then keep going until the mix forms bigger clumps, a bit like a rough biscuit dough. Stir in the sugar and oats. Scatter over the fruit, then cover with foil and bake for 1 hr, removing the foil for the final 30 mins, until golden and bubbling. Rest for 10 mins, then serve with custard or ice cream.
How to... mix a fiery cocktail
- 1.5ltr (2 1/2pt) vintage cider
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 cloves
- 2 star anise
- 4 tbsp ginger syrup (from a jar of stem ginger)
- 1 orange, 1/2 juiced and 1/2 sliced
- 3 tbsp light soft brown sugar
This hot spiced cider is simple to make – warm the cider with the cinnamon sticks, cloves and star anise. Add the ginger syrup, sugar, orange slices, serve in a mug and enjoy.
How to... compose the perfect bonfire Spotify playlist
Burn the Witch - Queens of the Stone Age
Get your hips moving to this ZZ Top inspired bit of swamp rock. Burning effigies never sounded so fun!
Burn the Witch - Radiohead
Stare intensely into the flames to this bit of mopey indie. Burning effigies never sounded less fun.
Fire - The Crazy World of Arthur Brown
Indispensable bonfire psychedelic nonsense.
Bang Bang Bang - Mark Ronson & The Business Intl
For when the party is in full swing.
Rise Like a Phoenix - Conchita Wurst
When you've quite frankly had enough of your guests and want them all to leave.