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8 Ingredients for the Ultimate Campfire

It’s not fall without a roaring, s’mores-ing fire.

Singalongs optional.

Cool fall evenings call for roaring campfires in your backyard—and putting in just a little extra thought ahead of time can go a long way. If you’re hosting, use this checklist as a blueprint for an epically cozy evening with your friends and family.

1. A Fire Pit

Safety first! A fire pit is essential in order to contain the fire; otherwise, your grass (or loved ones) might catch on fire. You can build your own pit in or above the ground, buy a manufactured one, or hire a contractor to professionally install one. 

2. Plenty of Seating

Who wants to stand around the fire all night long? Round up durable options you already own, like folding chairs, a patio set, or large blankets and pillows. Better to have extra seating than not enough!

3. Mood Lighting 

As the night sky darkens, the light from the campfire might not be enough to help you and your guests see. Avoid run-ins and dropped platters of food with string lights, torch lights, and lanterns. (Don’t forget the citronella candles!)

4. Outdoor Games

To keep your campfire lit, have some backyard-friendly games handy. With enough lighting, you can play lawn darts or cornhole. For the adult crowd, tell everyone to come prepared with their scariest story or bust out Cards Against Humanity.

5. S’mores (and S’mores Accessories)

No campfire is complete without the sweet combination of graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate; just make sure you have enough ingredients to feed the entire crowd. Need assistance? Technology has blessed the world with quirky gadgets like the Six S’more Maker, the S’mores Toaster Warmer, and even a faux Twig Marshmallow Skewer

6. An Assortment of Drinks

Help your guests quench their thirst with a crisp cocktail or two—make a few batches ahead of time. (If it’s a chilly evening, whip up your favorite hot toddy.) And have a few non-alcoholic options on hand, like club soda, flavored water, or a big pitcher of freshly squeezed lemonade.

7. Extra Wood

You don’t want to have to send everyone home early because you ran out of fuel for the fire, so make sure to stock up. Besides, it wouldn’t be a true backyard campfire without the rustic appeal of a stack of extra firewood nearby.

8. A Fire Extinguisher 

Always have a fire extinguisher handy, just in case, and let your guests know where it is when they arrive. If you have a garden hose or bucket of sand nearby, that works too.

A version of this article originally appeared on GuruHub.tv.