The hustle and bustle of summer vacation, state fairs, and endless days at the lake are behind us, and kids are heading back to school. Now is the perfect opportunity to bring the neighbors back together with a backyard bonfire. I know, I know. Kids and fire don’t make a good combo. But, if you throw in s’mores, a crisp autumn night, and a few precautions, it’s an equation for family-friendly fun.
GET IN THE ZONE: Create zones to make safety a breeze. Designate an area for lawn games and active play (running, cartwheels, and all out craziness) as far away from the fire pit as your yard allows. With all of the action taking place in one area, the kids won’t be tempted to play near the open flame.
LET IT GLOW!: As dusk turns to all-out darkness, keep an eye on the kids with glow stick necklaces or glow-in-the-dark tape on the front and back of their shirts. After a s’more or two, they’ll be eager to escape your grownup chatter and return to their world of roughhousing, somersaults, and games.
PLAY IT SAFE: Nighttime isn’t the time for semi-supervised baseball. The number of bat-to-head or ball-to-groin incidents is bound to be higher in the dark. Instead, stock the yard with games that don’t involve lots of parental oversight, since you’ll probably be spending most of your night mingling. Ring toss, bean bag toss, and frisbee are great options that kids can manage on their own.
GET COMFY: Stock up on throw blankets to keep guests warm in the chilly, autumn night. Drape them over each seat encircling the fire pit, or pile them high in a decorative basket to let guests know they’re welcomed to snuggle up.
MIX & MATCH: Let’s face it: It’s not a proper bonfire without s’mores. Break out of the milk chocolate rut, and mix flavors with white chocolate Crunch bars, Reese’s cups, and dark chocolate. Give your guests even more options with flavored marshmallows.
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