What’s Bonfire Night got to do with taxes? Well, not an awful lot, but it is in everyone’s interests not to be involved in a Big Whoops with fireworks, so we’ve put together some ways to have a cheap, fun, and above all cheerful evening.

Read The Code

Just do it. Learn it. Write it on a post-it and stick it to things, like your own forehead. The Firework Code exists for a reason and it can’t be beat for remembering the basics.

  • Stand well back
  • Keep pets indoors
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box
  • Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114
  • Light at arm's length, using a taper
  • Follow the instructions on each firework
  • Don't drink alcohol if setting off fireworks
  • Always supervise children around fireworks
  • Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them
  • Never go near a firework that has been lit – even if it hasn't gone off it could still explode

Picking Your Fireworks

It’s generally easier, safer and cheaper to just attend public displays – have a Google for firework shows in your area or check the local paper to find them. If the kids are insistent on having a private set of explosions in the back garden, though, make sure that when buying fireworks you pay attention to the clearance space. No need to shell out on a rocket designed to go a hundred feet if your garden is only half that size. Saves damaging your eardrums, too – fireworks with larger clearance distances are designed to be set off in much bigger spaces so being too close will leave your ears ringing.

Might still want to get some ear defenders though, especially if you’re the muggins doing the lighting. Stops the littler kids from missing the fun if they’re scared of the noise, too!

Handling Sparklers

Sparklers are pretty awesome and kids love to hold them, but (once you’re done drawing rude shapes in the air) they can burn down and singe fingers pretty quickly. Wear gloves if you can, or to keep completely safe from sparks try using a big plastic cup with a hole in the base as a “sparkler shield,” especially for kids. The example below is from Lifehacker.com.

Cheap, Safe Sparkler Shields

Don’t use paper cups for sparkler shields, folks. It is a form of fire, after all!

Having A Bonfire

If you’re having a backyard bonfire, be decent about it and let neighbours know in advance. Make sure anything you burn is clean and dry – all damp material does is produce smoke, and nobody likes smoked marshmallows. Keep the fire away from sheds, trees, wires and the washing line.

It may be tempting to splash on some petrol or alcohol to get the fire going faster, but don’t! Better to let it catch gradually than have it burn fast and out of control. Waiting for a bit is a lot cheaper than something like a new house.

Don’t put anything on the fire other than wood and paper. Tyres, paint cans, spray cans and the like will give out toxic fumes and poisoning the family isn’t the way to a fun evening. Some containers can even explode which is even worse. For the same reason, don’t throw fireworks into the bonfire. Seriously, just don’t.

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 There are tons of resources online to help with bonfire and firework safety so make sure your night isn’t memorable for all the wrong reasons. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has an excellent guide for a good start, and the Bonfire Night Safety Guide is full of fun facts and tips as well as safety advice.

We’re not big on fires but we are very safety-conscious at RIFT. That’s why we offer our unique guarantee – choose to get a tax rebate or return claim handled by us and even if HMRC challenge it, your money is safe and covered by us. It’s all part of our first class aftercare service, which leaves you free to spend your refund on the stuff that matters. Explosion free.