It’s officially sweater weather, ya’ll. This means it’s the perfect time to plan a bonfire party with friends
A bonfire party is a perfect way to welcome fall. Create a fun, festive air that makes the most of cool nights with flickering flames, cozy conversation, and fall crafts. Think of it as camping without leaving the comfort of your own home! Whether you have outdoor space or not, you can easily host a bonfire party. Combine the best fireside desserts with not-too-spooky stories, the warm glow of a fire, and fall decorations, and you’ll be ready for an easy, fun family night.
Start by setting the scene
Part one? The bonfire! You don’t need a big outdoor fire pit. Use an indoor gas or wood-burning fireplace and keep things cozy in your living room. Or, add ambiance with a tiny portable fire or a cluster of battery-operated candles. We love this mini portable bonfire that can be used indoors or out. You can toast marshmallows over even the smallest flames. If you don't have a fire pit in your outdoor space, consider getting a smokeless fire pit from Solo. Available in all different sizes, they're an easy and safe way to have a backyard fire. Add a few camp chairs around the portable stove and you’ll be set. If you've got really tiny kiddos, opt for a few safe, bonfire-themed toys, like a toddler-friendly felt bonfire.
Decide on your menu
Good food is a key ingredient for a bonfire party. Snack on s’mores-inspired treats like oven-made s’mores. Or, set up a big spread with all the s’mores ingredients, and swap out chocolate for a peanut butter cup or peppermint patty to give your s’mores a memorable twist. Pick up a few extendable kid-friendly roasting sticks. To drink, add festive crock pot apple cider. If your party is at dinnertime, treat your guests to fondue or a decadent charcuterie board.
Plan activities perfect for a bonfire party
If you have a bigger outdoor space or a yard to use, bring out oversized lawn games, and when it gets dark, turn out the lights and play fun flashlight games. For small or indoor spaces, plan on classic card games like Uno, your favorite board games, or easy tic tac toe. Put together an epic mix to encourage dancing around the fire. Add fire-themed songs like Great Balls of Fire, Firework, or This Girl is on Fire.
If you’ve got more of an arts-and-crafts crowd in your house, plan a bonfire-themed craft like making food coloring or glitter fireworks in a jar or creating a tissue paper fire. For the easiest project ever, put marshmallows on the end of sticks to use as paintbrushes—a fun tactile craft that’s super easy to put together. Stamping with marshmallows makes interesting dot patterns.
When the stars are bright and the flames are flickering, snuggle up under blankets and share some not-too-spooky ghost stories. Or, have a cozy conversation around the fireplace with clever conversation starters sure to get everyone giggling like “If you had to eat a worm, how would you cook it?” Finally, you can choose a movie the whole family will enjoy, like one of these Pixar movies ranked for parental enjoyment, kids’ movies parents love too, or one from our ultimate list of movies for kids.
Things to Consider When Hosting a Bonfire Party
To keep everyone safe around the fire, make sure your kids know about fire safety: never, ever play with matches, don’t touch the fire itself, and keep a safe distance. Outdoor fire pits should be at least three feet away from anything that can catch on fire.
Be sure to douse all the flames at the end of the night, and check local guidelines before lighting an outdoor fire pit. Air quality restrictions or fire warnings might mean outdoor fires aren’t an option in your area.
If your kids aren’t quite ready for a real fire, substitute a cluster of battery-operated candles for flickering flames. You get all the glow and zero worries about burns.