How To Host the Perfect Bonfire Party This Fall

Posted by Bridget Reed on

We love relaxing around a bonfire with friends in the fall. Hosting a bonfire party is the perfect way to spend some laid-back time with the most important people in our lives while still enjoying the great outdoors. 

Throwing an event together doesn’t have to be stressful or overwhelming, though. We’d love to show you how to host the perfect bonfire party this fall, from start to finish. 

Start With Choosing a Theme

There are few better ways to continue relaxing and connecting with friends as the summer winds down than a bonfire. Planning a bonfire party brings everyone together, possibly for the last time before the impending holidays start to make everyone’s lives much busier. 

All of the best parties have a theme, but that doesn’t mean it has to be over the top. Choosing a theme can help with planning and keep things cohesive. Plus, if you want to have your guests contribute, it can give them a better idea of what to bring! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Farmhouse: Think of country vibes with hay bales, corn hole, etc.
  • Campfire: Imagine cooking hot dogs over a fire, making s’mores, and telling scary stories.
  • Movie night: You can put up a sheet and use a projector, break out the bean bag chairs, and chow down on popcorn.
  • Beach: This theme is better for when the weather is still warm, and you can do more summery activities like play volleyball, tan, and swim.

Make Sure You’ve Prepared the Fire

What good is a bonfire party without an actual fire? Building the perfect fire isn’t as simple as it sounds, and it requires advanced planning to be done safely. 

The first factor to consider is where you will have your fire. Do you already have an in-ground fire pit? Or are you planning to buy a new fire table or pit before your party? The size and location of our fire will determine a few factors, so planning ahead is essential. 

If you’re new to hosting a bonfire party, we strongly recommend you check your local ordinances. Some areas have specific laws around backyard fires, like what you can burn and what times you can burn it. You don’t want your party to end with a visit from the police or an unintended ticket.

Don’t forget to check the weather beforehand, too! The forecast can make or break an outdoor bonfire party, so checking ahead of time can save you the heartbreak of having to cancel last minute. 

Setting Up Your Bonfire Party

With a bonfire party, you mainly need to be concerned with two key details — decorations and seating. 

The decor will revolve around your theme, but any bonfire party can benefit from putting up some outdoor lighting. If people have to walk a bit from the house to the bonfire, you may also want to invest in some path lights to keep your guests safe. Otherwise, go wild! Try some rustic lanterns, tiki torches, or even a few citronella candles to keep the mosquitoes away

Seating-wise, unless you’re planning on asking your guests to bring their own lawn chairs (which is perfectly acceptable), ensure you have enough chairs for your guests, plus a few extra just in case. We also recommend having some outdoor blankets on hand because it can still get chilly even with the bonfire going. 

Plan for Bonfire Snacks

One of the best parts about a bonfire party is that you don’t have to plan an entire five-course meal! If you decide to serve snacks, plan to make sure they’re easy to put together and simple to eat without sitting at a table. You can also involve the fire by roasting marshmallows or hot dogs (make sure you have a vegan option as well). 

If you need a little inspiration, here are a few suggestions:

  • Charcuterie board: Cheese plates and charcuterie boards are the perfect, customizable snack for a bonfire party. You can make any combination of meats, cheeses, fruits, nuts, vegetables, etc., that you and your guests are into. 
  • Chips and dip: Another classic bonfire party snack is chips and dip. Like the charcuterie board, you can customize this appetizer in any way you want. Stick with the classics, like potato chips and french onion dip or tortilla chips and guac. You can also mix it up by making your own! Try pita chips, bagel chips, or even baby carrots and celery.
  • S’mores bar: You can’t argue with a classic, but if you want to up the ante, serve an entire s’mores bar! In addition to the traditional graham crackers and chocolate bars, break out the peanut butter cups, Oreos, candied bacon, peppermint patties, etc., to give your guests more options.

Decide on Games

If you’re hosting people who get antsy after sitting around too long, it’s a great idea to have a few games on hand. Don’t stress out trying to organize big, complex games — even easy, laidback games like cornhole or horseshoes can be a fun diversion. 

If you’re hosting an adults-only crowd, you can also spice it up by playing a few rounds of truth or dare, two truths and a lie, or never have I ever.

The Perfect Bonfire Party Cocktails

The perfect bonfire party cocktails fit in with the season — they’re tasty, warming, and full of delicious fall flavors. Plus, these cocktails easily fit into any party theme.

The Old Fashioned

The old fashioned is a classic cocktail typically made with whiskey or bourbon. It’s perfect for sipping next to a fire, but some people consider making it an art form. To make a traditional old fashioned, you’ll need the following:

  • ½ tsp sugar
  • Angostura bitters
  • 1 tsp water
  • 2 ounces bourbon (for an even more autumnal burst of flavor, try it with Haus New Fashioned Apéritif)
  • Orange peel

Start with a rocks glass and add the sugar, water, and three dashes of Angostura bitters to the bottom. Stir until the sugar has mostly dissolved, then fill the glass with ice (most people prefer larger ice cubes). Top with bourbon and stir gently just until combined. 

Finish by rubbing the orange peel along the rim of the glass, then drop it into the cocktail and serve!

Pumpkin Spice White Russian

Is there anything more fall than pumpkin spice? Adding spice to another classic cocktail, the White Russian, gives it a seasonal twist that is excellent for enjoying at any fall bonfire party.

Here’s your ingredient list to make two pumpkin spice White Russians:

  • 3 oz vodka
  • 3 oz pumpkin spice creamer
  • 1.5 oz Kahlua
  • A few graham crackers (crushed)
  • 1 tsp large crystal sugar
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • Whipped cream (optional)

Mix a few teaspoons of crushed graham crackers with the sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Then, dip the top of a rocks glass in water and press it gently into the mixture to create a festive rim. 

To make the cocktail, gently shake the vodka, pumpkin spice creamer, and Kahlua in a shaker with ice. Pour into your prepared glasses, then top with whipped cream and the remainder of your graham cracker mixture if desired.

Spiced Cherry Manhattan

The Manhattan is another classic bonfire party cocktail, plus it’s incredibly easy to put together so that you can spend more time with your guests and less time in the kitchen making drinks. 

All you need is three ingredients:

Mix the Haus Spiced Cherry and whiskey and serve on the rocks with a twist of orange peel.

The Warmup

If you would rather serve a drink that can help warm your guests’ hands while you sit around the bonfire, why not make a tea-based cocktail? We love the Warmup because it's full of fall flavors, making it perfect for any bonfire party.

To make one cocktail, you need:

Brew the tea, then combine it with the Haus Pomegranate Rosemary apéritif in a mug or teacup. Add a slice of lemon and honey (to taste) and garnish with a fresh spring of rosemary.

Campfire Hot Chocolate

Campfire hot chocolate is one last excellent bonfire party drink, especially if you’re hosting children as well as adults. Pull out the Irish cream, bourbon, Horchata, or vanilla-flavored vodka for the adults, and make sure that you have plenty of marshmallows and whipped cream available for people of all ages! 

Hot chocolate is perhaps the quintessential bonfire drink, but you can also substitute it with apple cider if you want to keep it extra autumnal. 

Making a Memorable Bonfire Experience

Even if you’re new to hosting events at your home, planning a bonfire party is easier than you’d think. Choosing an easy theme, making sure you have enough seating for your guests, and having a tasty cocktail menu are all you need to make a memorable experience. Just make sure to check your local laws and the weather first, and be safe!

Sources:

How To Get Rid of Mosquitoes | Consumer Reports

Backyard Recreational Fires | US EPA

How to Throw an Epic Bonfire Birthday Party | The Spruce