Bonfire Party Ideas: Light up the Night

One of the best ways to celebrate the night is by hosting a bonfire for family, friends and neighbors. Perfect for any season this gathering is an informal way to connect people and enjoy lively conversations and delicious food and drinks. Take a look at our favorite bonfire party ideas that will help you throw an incredible event.

Step 1: Plan for Bonfire Party Safety

Be sure you have a wide, open area for your bonfire and plenty of space for guests. If desired, a portable fire pit could be used in the middle of your backyard. Do not use flammable liquids to start your fire, as they can be dangerous and unpredictable. Properly arrange the kindling and logs to light the fire naturally. The bonfire should be started before guests arrive so that it’s burning nicely when the party begins. Keep a bucket of water and a fire extinguisher nearby just in case, and always be sure to put out the fire completely when the party ends.

Step 2: Organize Seating & Add Warmth

Seating is an essential at every bonfire. There are many different routes you could take when providing seating for your guests. If you don’t have time to get or make seating you can ask your guests to bring their own. Or some simple ideas are to use large logs, bails of hay with blankets on top, benches or wooden chairs. No matter what route you decide to take with providing seating for your guests it’s important to make sure they’re comfortable. We recommend supplying extra blankets in case anyone gets cold, you could easily put a blanket at each seat. For extra comfort you can also add a pillow on each seat. It’s important that your guests are comfortable so they can enjoy every moment of your party.

Step 3: Design your Bonfire Party Menu

The best type of food is informal, cozy comfort food. Be sure that everything is easy to eat, doesn’t require navigating a plate, napkin and a drink and generally can be gobbled up in a few bites. Because you may not have a traditional table and chairs setup at your bonfire, plan ahead so your guests need not work too hard. We are big fans of small accent tables that can be placed between chairs or blankets and double as candle, drink and food rests.

When you consider the menu, think about a balance of savory and sweet items. Depending on how late you start your bonfire, guests may be hungry (or skipped dinner) and a substantial protein (hotdogs on roasting sticks), combined with salty side treats (popcorn, chips, dip, cheese and crackers) and sweet finishes (mini caramel or toffee apples) are a good balance on roasting. An elevated s’mores station is always a crowd pleaser, and you can add a small beer, hot chocolate, cider or wine flight depending on your crowd. The goal here is to remember making the food part of the experience and the fun – but not difficult to hold, consume or dispose. (Don’t forget to make trash, recycling and compost options easy to find and simple to understand for guests as well.)

Step 4: Add your Finishing Touches with Bonfire Party Decorations

For a festive look, consider covering the food table with a red checked tablecloth. You may also select to use red and white plates, as well as napkins with a bandanna design, or buy several cloth bandannas to use as napkins. Use western-style lanterns on tables, hanging from trees and around the bonfire to light the way. Using clear holiday lights in tree branches and on the patio or deck is a low-cost way to decorate with high impact. Be sure to place a portable sound system in place to play low background music. Seating your guests or large logs or bales of hay near the fire or even lawn chairs for added comfort. Be sure to strategically place several trashcans out so dirty plates and cups don’t end up on the ground. Fill a basket with glow necklaces and bracelets, which will light the way and be a big hit once the sun goes down!

Step 5: Additional Lighting

It gets dark quick and a bonfire alone is just not quite enough lighting, which makes moving around outside a little harder. Make sure you add some additional lightening so your guests can safely maneuver around your bonfire party. Try hanging lights on trees or posts, install pathway lights (there are a lot of solar options for these so you don’t need to worry about batteries), or use tall tiki torches.

Need help planning your Bonfire Party? Try one of our professional event planners. Find the right venue to suit all of your activities by checking out our event venues. Share your bonfire party with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.