Bonfire Night celebrations signal start of England’s COVID-19 lockdown

By Anthony Myers contact

- Last updated on GMT

Toffee apples are a Bonfire Night classic in the UK. Pic: GettyImages
Toffee apples are a Bonfire Night classic in the UK. Pic: GettyImages

Related tags: coronavirus

Families can hold private parties in their gardens, as Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls ensures treacle toffee won’t run out.

England will enter a second period of coronavirus lockdown on Thursday 5 November, Bonfire Night, in a bid to stop the spread of the disease.

From this Thursday, non-essential retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will close in England. Pubs, restaurants and cafes will be able to provide takeaway meals, and food deliveries will be allowed. Supermarkets will remain open, and there will be no restrictions on what they can sell, according to latest government guidelines.

With major firework displays cancelled this year, private celebrations can still go ahead on Bonfire Night, but local authorities are asking that people avoid meeting others outside of their households or social bubbles.

World famous premium sweet brand Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls has produced a parents’ guide of fun games and activities to help families celebrate Bonfire Night safely and without breaching Covid-19 guidelines.

They include:

  • Bonfire Night hide and seek. Hiding Bonfire Night sweets such as treacle toffee around the house and garden for children to find
  • Teaching children traditional Bonfire Night games such as apple bobbing - fill a basin with cold water and apples and try to pull an apple out of the water using only your teeth
  • Pumpkin hunt. Get your friends and neighbours to post pictures of pumpkins in their windows and see how many you can spot on a family walk
  • Firework art. Use coloured chalks to draw your favourite fireworks on a patio, wall or paved area. You can even take a photo and frame it as a lasting memory. Just make sure you buy washable chalk!
  • Making a  Guy. Help your children make an effigy of Guy Fawkes and hang them outside your house. Compete against your neighbours, like a mini Bonfire Night scarecrow festival
  • Roasted chestnuts. Chestnuts can be gathered up for conker tournaments or roasted for an evening snack over a fire to keep you warm
  • Bake some Parkin. Originally created in the North of England but now enjoyed throughout the country. Fun and easy to make, this is another great activity to tuck into 

John Winnard, Joint Managing Director of Wigan-based Uncle Joe’s, said: “Bonfire Night – and Halloween too – are events that everyone looks forward to each year but many community events won’t be happening this year because of coronavirus and social distancing rules​.

But that is no reason not to celebrate and with a bit of imagination people can still have fun. We don’t want these traditional celebrations to just fizzle out this year.”

Winnard said Uncle Joe’s started the annual production of its treacle toffee early this year, after people’s plans for post-lockdown celebrations led to increased orders for the autumn favourite.

 “People are obviously looking for ways to treat themselves and some people will still have fireworks in the back garden but people we have been speaking to have been quite upset about the fact that bonfire displays and trick or treating will be cancelled this year​,” he said.

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