BY Rachel Codrington-Hopkins
It seems no sooner have we scoffed our sweets and composted our pumpkins than there’s another festivity to look forward to; bonfire night.
When I was a little girl building a Guy by stuffing old clothes with newspaper was one of our Guy Fawkes Night traditions, but ‘penny for the guy’ seems to have fallen by the wayside over the years.
Except, that is, in the town of Lewes, East Sussex. Here they host the biggest Bonfire Night festivities in the UK.
Lewes has six separate Bonfire Societies and there are processions, bonfires, costumes and fireworks in various locations across the town on November 5th with a distinctly carnival atmosphere.
Unfortunately, as is the case for fireworks displays across the UK, the Lewes Bonfire Night celebrations have been cancelled this year in light of the pandemic.
So, how can we enjoy a quieter, safer, Bonfire Night? Snacks and sparklers sounds like a good alternative to me. We’ll be swapping the local fireworks display for toasting marshmallows over a campfire in the back garden.
My children want to make s’mores (marshmallows sandwiched between a layer of chocolate and biscuit).
We’re going to use mini milk chocolate rice cakes, which make a great alternative to biscuits and allow little tummies to squeeze in a few extra treats. You could also try using crackers and a little chocolate spread.
We’ll be pairing them with steaming hot chocolate with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg, served in oversized mugs to wrap our chilly hands around, as we inhale the comforting smells.
We’re not setting off any fireworks this year as our dog, Indie, is only just a year old and it might all be a bit too much for her.
Instead, she can join us round the campfire while the children write their names with sparklers, watching the afterglow imprint in the air before the spark fizzes and dulls to a soft, glowing ember.
If I’m honest with myself, I think I’m actually going to prefer this quieter, simpler style of bonfire night; no hanging around in a cold field, soggy feet sinking into the mud while we wait for the fireworks; placating our impatient children with toffee apples whilst promising them it’ll be ‘any minute now.’
And if it rains? Well, we’re only a hop, skip and a jump to shelter and some cosiness.