Bonfire Party Ideas

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Put some of our bonfire party ideas into action and celebrate a special birthday against a cozy backdrop of crackling rustic perfection.

This is that rare at-home event where frantic cleaning of the house is not involved. Clean bathroom facilities are about all you need since everything takes place outdoors.

The very best setting is any place with a real bonfire. Those of you who live in an environment that permits this get extra points for authenticity. The rest of us will have to improvise: a fire pit will do beautifully, as will a chimenea or an outdoor wood-burning stove.

The beauty of a bonfire party is that it can be staged during three seasons of the year; the fire should keep folks toasty in all but the coldest weather.

Decorating…We’ve Got Bonfire Party Ideas for That!

First of all, make sure to provide lawn chairs or blankets for seating. Set out lanterns with tea candles for soft lighting. String tiny white lights or other decorative strands of lights on and around the trees. Large paper lanterns are pretty too and add a dash of color.

If you’re feeling kitschy, cut out large cardboard stars and crescent moons, sprinkle silver glitter over the entire front and back surfaces and hang them from tree limbs.

As you gather your bonfire party ideas, think about beach parties and fall parties for extra inspiration.

Bonfire Party Ideas for Entertainment

What to do before you bring out the cake? We can think of several options. Spooky stories once night falls are a blast. You could even give a prize for the scariest.

How about a talent show and let the guests entertain the birthday guy or gal and each other. This works best with a gregarious group of folks. Feel free to warn, I mean inform, them of this activity on the invitation. Once again, prizes would be a good thing.

There’s always the old campfire classic…a sing-along. Incorporate every camp song you can think of and no excuses for not participating! From long ago car rides (I was an urban child, meaning many more car rides than camp fires), I remember such gems as:

  • Old Stewball Was a Racehorse
  • Row, Row, Row Your Boat
  • On Top of Old Smoky
  • Found a Peanut
  • There’s a Hole in the Bucket
  • Kum Ba Yah
  • John Jacob Jingleheimer-Schmidt

Bonfire Party Ideas in the Food Department

Serve a Classic Bonfire Menu

Actually, is there such a thing? Who knows, but here’s our version of a delectable bonfire party menu.

Hot dogs: roast them over the campfire on sticks. To top them off, supply condiments: mustard, relish, ketchup, chopped hot peppers, chopped onion (breath mint anyone?).

If the weather is warm, have some salad/pasta dishes on hand as well. If your party’s in the fall, why not make a big pot of chili or a hearty soup or stew? Who could resist sitting around a fire, all bundled up, with a toasty bowl of chili?

Next, serve every childhood piece of junk food you and your friends have been forgoing in an unending struggle to contain the waistline. This is a party, eat what you want!

Popcorn: popped over the fire, of course, in one of those special poppers made for that purpose.

S’mores: my mouth waters just thinking about them (and I don’t even normally like marshmallows). In case you’re ignorant of this delectable experience, it goes like this. Provide graham crackers, semi-sweet chocolate, marshmallows, and long twigs or skewers. Have each guest impale one or two marshmallows on a twig and heat over the fire till browned. Place a piece of chocolate on a graham cracker half, smoosh the heated marshmallow on top of the chocolate, top the whole thing with the other graham cracker half —voila, a totally scrumptious dessert sandwich!

Penny candy (if your guests are of the over-40 variety): remember how you’d go to the corner store with a nickel and walk away with a small brown paper bag full of candy? Pile in a bowl all the old favorites: mary janes, squirrel nuts, candy cigarettes, salted pumpkin seeds, banana splits, spearmint leaves, jawbreakers (I never liked them, but feel obligated to include them for old time’s sake), shoestring cherry licorice, wax lips, bazooka bubble gum (and yes, “candy” is loosely interpreted right about now), straws filled with kool-aid. Bulkcandystore
and Retro Planet  have great selections of old-fashioned candy.

Candied and/or caramel apples:

those great heralds of fall. I stopped chomping on these hardened sugar treats ages ago (the teeth ain’t what they used to be). Caramel apples are divine rolled in chopped nuts or drizzled with chocolate. For less mess cut each apple into eighths to serve. Buy them already made, or be a super hostess and make them from scratch.

Don’t Leave the Kitchen Yet!
More Bonfire Party Ideas for Your Drink Menu

Hot weather drinks: lemonade, iced tea, beer, sodas, water.

Cold weather drinks: hot chocolate (spiked or not), hot apple cider spiked with rum, mulled wine, spiced beers (the ones made especially for the winter holidays), hot coffee (Irish coffee would really warm you up), hot tea (herbal and regular). Check out hot alcoholic drinks for more tasty concoctions.

Party Favors

  • Tiny lanterns with a tea light tucked inside
  • Candy or caramel apples wrapped in pretty cellophane and tied with a ribbon
  • Miniature flashlights for finding your way in the dark
  • Ingredients for several s’mores, tied up in mosquito netting
  • a set of skewers wrapped with a fabric ribbon
  • personalized mugs (especially for a fall bonfire party)

And there you have the last of our bonfire party ideas. If you’d like to share some of yours send us an email and we’ll post it right here (with all credit going straight to you, of course!).