In some countries, bonfire nights are associated with specific celebrations, such as Guy Fawkes Night in the United Kingdom. In the U.S., bonfires can be associated with special occasions, such as football games and Halloween parties, or the bonfire itself can be the reason for the celebration. While simply relaxing and chatting around an enormous roaring fire might be enjoyable enough, a specific party theme adds a sense of occasion to bonfire night.
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Roast-n-Toast Bonfire Party
If you're going to roast and toast food at your bonfire, why not your friends? Turn your next bonfire night into an old-fashioned, good-natured roast followed by a martini toast to the guest-of-honour. Spear some hot dogs and throw some ears of corn on the fire while you fire corny -- yet on-the-nose -- insults at your friend. Though coming up with zingers can be a lot of fun, remember the true intent of the event is to provide a good time for all involved, so keep the insults light, funny and above-the-belt.
After guests have had their fill of food and funny, bring on the marshmallows and martinis, then get on with honouring the guest-of-honour.
Single Gals' Singe Fest
Rachel, Phoebe and Monica burnt keepsakes from old boyfriends in an episode of "Friends." Cher and Tai tossed mementos from a relationship that never materialised into the fire in the movie "Clueless." A bonfire night for single girls only presents the perfect time to partake in the TV- and film-honoured tradition of releasing old emotional baggage by burning memorabilia. Mix up a batch of Cosmopolitans, build a roaring bonfire and get to dishing with your girlfriends about the significance of each keepsake before tossing it into the flames.
Avoid throwing anything made of glass, alcohol or plastic on the fire; glass can explode, alcohol can push the fire out of control and burning plastic releases toxic fumes. For any item you cannot burn, go to town smashing it with hammers.
Old-Fashioned Song and Story Bonfire Party
Bring back long-forgotten memories of childhood camping trips with a bonfire night filled with the ghost stories and campfire songs of your youth. While this sounds easy enough to plan, the difficult part is breaking the ice. Instead of begging guests to participate and asking them to rely on their memories for the words to long-forgotten songs and stories, come prepared with song and story booklets. While the booklets are great supplementary materials, the real trick to pulling off this sort of bonfire night is the telling of a great ghost story followed by a familiar song. Enlist a friend who's great at engaging people in the stories they tell to share a familiar ghost story with the crowd. As people are still laughing and chatting over their reactions to the tale, have your song leader play faint strains of a familiar song. Once a guest picks up the song and the rest join in, the ice is broken. Soon guests will be suggesting songs or telling their own versions of the ghost stories they've skimmed in your booklets.
Red Hot Rivalry Bonfire Rally
Bonfires are a staple at many pregame events at both high schools and colleges. At pregame bonfires, students often bring homemade signs, banners and effigies of the opposing team's mascot to throw on the bonfire as a symbol of their intent to defeat the opposing team. Graduated party hosts looking to recapture their school days can throw a rivalry-based bonfire night as a precursor to a major athletic event, such as the Super Bowl, or smaller events like a company softball tournament. Turn the bonfire night into a rally by leading cheers and songs in support of your team while singing parodies of your rival's fight song. Add even more heat to the red hot rivalry by serving up a menu of spicy barbecue dishes and fiery-flavoured chicken wings.
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- Internet Movie Database: "Friends" (TV Series 1994-2004); "The One with the Candy Hearts" (episode #1.14)
- Internet Movie Database: "Clueless;" 1995
- US Scouting Service Project: MacScouter -- Songs for Scouts & Scouters, Campfire Songs
- Toastmasters International: "Manner of Speaking: Making Your Roast a Tip-Top Toast"; Gene Perret; August, 2009
- American Folklore: Spooky Campfire Stories