As the beautiful and colourful displays fill our skies, we thought we would remind you where it all started, share some child- and pet-friendly alternatives, and give you some fun ideas of how to celebrate Guy Fawkes with your neighbours and peers…

The history of Guy Fawkes

Four hundred years ago, in 1605, a man called Guy Fawkes and a group of plotters attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London with barrels of gunpowder placed in the basement. They wanted to remove King James and the king’s leaders from power. 
The group hoped that King James would amend laws regarding the open practice of Catholic religion, but he didn’t.

What Happened: The Gunpowder Plot

A group of men led by Robert Catesby, plotted to remove King James the 1st, and blow up the Houses of Parliament, the place where the laws that governed England were made using barrels of gunpowder.

Guy Fawkes Discovered

Guy Fawkes was given the job to keep watch over the barrels of gunpowder and to light the fuse. On the morning of 5th November, soldiers discovered Fawkes hidden in the cellar and arrested him. The trail of gunpowder at his feet would never be lit.

Fawkes was taken to the Tower of London and the even led to the search of Parliament before every session took place to prevent a possible catastrophe.

A Celebration

In celebration of his survival, King James the 1st ordered that the people of England should have a great bonfire on the night on the 5th of November.

Some things to keep in mind during Guy Fawkes:

According to the bylaws, the use of fireworks is prohibited in certain circumstances unless authorised in South Africa. Display of fireworks should be authorised by the city council at least 14 days before the date of the proposed event.

If the municipality decides to approve an application to present a fireworks display, it must provide the applicant with written confirmation of its decision and any conditions imposed to safeguard persons and property.

No person may deal in fireworks unless that person holds the required fireworks licence in terms of the Explosives Act.

Fireworks are exceptionally powerful, can injure people and animals, and can damage property. They can burn at intense heat and explode violently.

While reported injuries cut across the age spectrum, children are particularly at risk due to unsafe handling of fireworks.

The danger of fireworks is that they may shoot off dangerously in different directions, hitting people and/or causing fires around homes.

Always put safety first when using fireworks.

Requirements for wholesalers, resellers and users:

  • Wholesalers and resellers must register at the police stations’ explosives unit and with the City of Johannesburg.
  • Fireworks must be stored in steel lockers where the storage limit for wholesalers is 1 000kg and 500kg for resellers.
  • Signage indicating a fireworks dealer must be displayed outside.
  • There must be appropriate fire extinguishers on the premises.
  • Resellers may not sell fireworks to any person under age 16.
  • In terms of Section 30 of the Explosives Act of 1956:
    • No person under age 16 must use explosives without adult supervision.
    • Selling fireworks to a child or anyone under the age of 16 is liable to a R300 fine; and
    • Allowing under 16s to handle fireworks without adult supervision is liable to a R300 fine.

Fireworks must not be used inside any building, on agricultural holdings, in public places, schools, old age homes, hospitals, where animals are present, or within 500m of explosives (factory, storage) or petrol depots or stations.

Users must take care to use fireworks in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions.

Guy Fawkes is an opportunity for you to get to know your neighbours, make new friends, and build relationships and trust in your community.

There’s no need to only get together in the designated fireworks areas.
Use OurHood to schedule and host a dinner party or a braai with your neighbours at home, allowing the kids to play together in the backyard with some safer alternatives – which will keep your pets happy too.

You can even do it this weekend, because with these safe alternatives, you don’t need a special day to have fun!

Here are some ideas:


The closest thing to fireworks, although much smaller and they don’t make a sound.
Just don’t hold them too close to your face!

Confetti Poppers

Make your own firework fun and get crafty with a few of these confetti poppers.


Take your bubbles to a whole new level with a bubble gun or even a bubble machine!

Balloons filled with Paint

Simply fill up some water balloons with different colour paints, and splatter the balloons on a safe surface, creating your own works of art!

Foaming fireworks


You will need:
  1. A clean 30-gram plastic soda bottle.
  2. 1/2 cup of 20-volume hydrogen peroxide liquid.
    (20-volume is a 6% solution – you can get this from a beauty supply store or hair salon)
  3. 1 tablespoon (one packet) of dry yeast.
  4. 3 tablespoons of warm water.
  5. Liquid dishwashing soap.
  6. Food colouring.
  7. A small cup.

Don’t forget your safety goggles!

Glow Sticks


Make bracelets or necklaces out of glowsticks…
…or pour the contents of the glowsticks into a jar with some glitter, close the jar and shake!

Another idea is to add the glow stick contents to the bubble mixture!

Be Responsible

Your safety and that of children and animals is extremely important to all of us at OurHood.
And as much as we all love watching the sky light up, staying out of harm’s way is a much better option.

Therefore, we urge you to please be a considerate neighbour, and be responsible, both for yourself, as well as those around you.

But most importantly: HAVE FUN!