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Everything you need to throw a bonfire

Alvina Wang/BestReviews

Hosting a bonfire party

A bonfire can simply be a way of getting rid of your garden waste — or it can be a celebration. Summer evenings often bring in a chill after the sun sets and the idea of throwing a bonfire party can be appealing.

The heat of the fire provides light and warmth, so you can comfortably hang out with your friends and family for longer. However, you'll want to think carefully about everything you need for a bonfire to make sure you're prepared. We provide bonfire party ideas and tips for hosting this outdoor event.

Shop this article: If You Care Firelighters Wood Starting CubesSolo Stove Bonfire Fire Pit and Amerex B402 ABC Dry Fire Extinguisher

How to plan a bonfire party

Pick your location

In most cases, you'll host your bonfire in your backyard, but you'll need plenty of space to provide proper clearance between the fire and your house or trees or fences. Plus, you'll want space to sit, mingle, play games and serve food. If your yard isn't big enough to accommodate a party, some public spaces allow bonfires.

Check local laws

Make sure that you're permitted to light a bonfire, especially if you're doing so in a public space. Even at home, you may need a permit. There are some areas where bonfires aren't allowed at all, due to the risk of forest fires.

Create a guest list

Think about who you want to invite to your bonfire. Will it just be your nearest and dearest or will you invite everyone you know? Do you want to invite kids or will it be adults-only? Once you've decided on this, you can draw up a guest list and start inviting people. Since bonfires are casual affairs, a simple call or text will suffice as an invite.

Share the load

Hosting an event can be expensive and time-consuming, but there are ways to share the load. Consider turning it into a potluck, so you don't need to provide food for everyone or ask people to bring their own booze. You can also ask people to bring a blanket or a camping chair to sit on if you don't have enough to go around.

What do you need for a bonfire?

Supplies to build your fire

The bonfire is the star of the show, so you'll need to make sure you have everything you need to build it. For starters, you'll need firewood and a patch of bare earth to build your bonfire on, so you don't burn your grass. You'll need kindling and a fire starter. You might also want to have a bucket of sand or water or a fire extinguisher available, just in case anything ends up on fire that's not supposed to be.

If you don't want to go through the hassle of setting up a bonfire, you could use a large fire pit or dot several smaller fire pits across your yard for people to gather around.

Food and drink

It isn't a party without refreshments, but what you provide is up to you. You might serve alcohol or decide that it's best to stay sober around a giant fire. You could provide a full meal or just snacks. And, of course, s'mores are a bonfire classic. Let people know what to expect, so they can prepare. You don't want people to go hungry if they're expecting dinner but just get chips and dips.


Think about how you want to keep your guests entertained. Music never goes amiss, so consider using a portable speaker. You might also want to play lawn games, such as cornhole or giant Jenga.

Items to keep guests comfortable

Make sure there's some seating available for guests who don't want to stand all night. If you don't have enough chairs, consider setting out blankets and pillows on the ground to create a relaxed seating spot. Blankets are also great at bonfires, just in case your guests get cold.

Best practical bonfire supplies

If You Care Firelighters Wood Starting Cubes

Made from 100% biomass, with no petroleum or artificial chemicals, these firelighters are ideal for getting your bonfire going.

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Solo Stove Bonfire Fire Pit

If you decide that building a bonfire from scratch is too much hassle or you're worried about damage to the ground, you may prefer to use this Solo Stove bonfire pit. It burns cleanly to reduce smoke, so it's perfect for people who are sensitive to wood smoke.

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Amerex B402 ABC Dry Fire Extinguisher

It's a good idea to have a fire extinguisher to hand when hosting a bonfire night, just in case it gets out of hand. This multipurpose ABC fire extinguisher can put out most types of fires.

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Best refreshment and entertainment supplies

Ball Aluminum Cup Recyclable Party Cups

Whatever drinks you choose to serve, your guests can enjoy them from these aluminum cups. Not only are they sturdier than other single-use cups, they're also made from infinitely recyclable material.

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Eco Soul Compostable Palm Leaf Plates

Made from palm leaves, these eco-friendly biodegradable and compostable plates are great for any food you choose to serve. They're more rigid than paper and plastic plates, making them more pleasant to eat from.

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JBL Flip 5 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker

If you want music at your bonfire, this portable JBL Bluetooth speaker is an excellent way to make this happen. The JBL speaker Flip 5 model is surprisingly loud for its compact size and runs for up to 12 hours on a full charge.

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GoSports Portable Size Cornhole Game Set

You might want to add some games and activities into the mix, especially if there'll be kids at your bonfire. These cornhole boards are fun to play with and almost anyone can join in.

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Best seating and blankets

Utopia Bedding Fleece Blanket

This soft fleece blanket is perfect for snuggling up under on a crisp night while you enjoy the warmth of the flames.

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JoyBean Outdoor Bean Bag Chair

Made from water-resistant marine vinyl, this outdoor bean bag is great for creating a comfy seating area. It comes in various colors.

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Oceas Large Waterproof Outdoor Blanket

With one waterproof side and one soft, fleecy side, this works as a picnic blanket to provide somewhere for guests to sit. However, you can also use it as a regular blanket, if you get cold.

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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