Celebrating Guy Fawkes Night with kids


Remember, remember, the 5th of November
The Gunpowder Treason and plot
I know of no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,
‘Twas his intent.
To blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below.
Poor old England to overthrow.
By God’s providence he was catch’d,
With a dark lantern and burning match

You’ve probably heard the infamous English folk poem that retells the story of how Guy Fawkes and how his team of 13 conspirators plotted to blow up the British Houses of Parliament using barrels of gunpowder in 1605. In a nutshell, Guy Fawkes was a devoted Catholic and didn’t agree with King James and his Protestant beliefs. So, together with Robert Catesby and his followers, he put together an elaborate plan to destroy the British Houses of Parliament and kill the King using 36 barrels of gunpowder. Sure enough, the plot was discovered thanks to an anonymous tip-off letter and Guy Fawkes was sent to the Tower of London on November 5th. King James ruled that forevermore, the day should be celebrated.

Alternatives to fireworks

While fireworks and crackers are the traditional way to celebrate, they’re not the only way to have fun on Guy Fawkes Night. Whether you’re not comfortable setting off fireworks in your backyard, have an anxious pet or simply want to branch out this year, read on for some family-friendly ways to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night in New Zealand.

A poetry reenactment

Perfect for bonding with the grandkids, poetry reenactments and theatrical performances are a great way to bring a little drama to Guy Fawkes Night. Print off the poem and assign one child the role of speaker. Then allocate roles like King James, the Pope and Guy Fawkes himself. Throw together some costumes and encourage the kids to get creative – basically, you can keep things as simple or elaborate as you like. If you’re really keen you could even organize a few rehearsal sessions in the lead up to Guy Fawkes Night.

Arts and crafts

Guy Fawkes Night is a great excuse to get crafty with the kids. If you’re hosting a family BBQ invite the little ones over in the morning and spend the day painting Guy Fawkes masks, making “firework” glitter bottles and baking themed cookies. Pinterest is a great place to get inspired and find family-friendly ways to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night.


There’s no arguing with the fact that fireworks are exciting. But if you’re looking for a more laid-back Guy Fawkes Night why not opt for sparklers and glow sticks instead? Safer, cheaper and more backyard-friendly, they’re a great way to light up your celebrations without loud noises and fiery explosions. Perfect if you have babies, toddlers and pets on the property.


Mini bonfires

Depending on where you live, you may be allowed to have a small “bonfire” in your backyard. Controlled blazes in braziers, chimineas, ring fire pits and pizza ovens offer all the excitement of a bonfire, without the risks. Depending on your fire you could cook up tasty treats like marshmallows, jacket potatoes and bananas stuffed with chocolate. Just be sure to check the rules in advance to see if your property and activity of choice is approved.

Do you have any family-friendly tips for celebrating Guy Fawkes Night? We’d love to hear from you this year so go ahead and share in the comments below.