Bonfire night on a budget

Don’t let Bonfire Night burn a hole in your pocket. Picture: Anna Cervova

Don’t let Bonfire Night burn a hole in your pocket. Picture: Anna Cervova

Christians Against Poverty with Julian Berkeley

November provides a brilliant opportunity for a party or a get together – and what better way to welcome the winter by celebrating Guy Fawkes Night? It’s reasonable to shy away from hosting or seeing friends when you’re hard up, but ‘party’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘pricey’. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of CAP’s top tips for bonfire night on a budget:

Choose your guests carefully:

Most people are more concerned about the opportunity to catch up with friends then on fancy food and fine wine. Equally, you don’t need a house full of people – just as long as the people you do invite will get along and have a good time.

Share the load:

There is nothing wrong with asking your guests to bring an offering (be it food, drink or sparklers…), and if you can be specific about what you’d like them to bring it takes away the pressure of coming up with an idea.

Make punch:

Booze is expensive, but mixing together cheap fruit juices and own-brand spirits makes a tasty and charming alternative to wine or beer. Check out the BBC website ( for more ideas. Then again, a more seasonal alternative might be to make some hot apple cider…

Keep the food simple:

Hot dogs and baked potatoes are a great way to keep the party food cheap and cheerful. Visit your supermarket and collect a stock of cheap bread rolls and tinned hot dogs, baking potatoes, and a heap of marshmallows for roasting around the bonfire. Pumpkins are also in great supply this time of year, so why not make some seasonal soup?

Collect your own wood:

Providing that your local park or meadows is not private, protected or managed, collecting fallen and broken pieces of wood from the ground is a cost-free way of having your own cheeky bonfire.

Old School entertainment:

Fireworks are pricey and over in the blink of an eye. Instead try some games that never grow old, like apple bobbing, skittles or make your own piñata to keep the kids entertained. Find a free display: A lot of places have a free bonfire and firework display. Check out what’s happening local to you and get a bunch of friends together to enjoy the festivities. Veto the pub trip afterwards and suggest everyone bring a drink to enjoy back at your house. Pubs tend to be overcrowded anyway so it will be cheaper and more chilled.