In London and in the UK in general, we have a passion for fireworks (pyrotechnics) at this time of year. Halloween isn't really our thing, although more and more children's costumes are going on sale these days. We look forward to November 5th when we commemorate Guy Fawkes's attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament with barrels of gunpowder in 1605, with King James I inside. He was caught before he could do any damage and was duly executed shortly after.We remember this date with the nursery rhyme:
Remember, remember, the 5th of November
Gunpowder, treason, and plot
I know of no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot
Children make a 'Guy' from old clothes stuffed with newspaper and a paper/material head which they plan to burn on a bonfire on November 5th. They try to collect money by wheeling the 'Guy' around in a pram or wheelbarrow asking for "a penny for the Guy". Adults give money depending on how good the 'Guy' looks. Traditionally, the money collected would be spent on sparklers (hand-held fireworks) but nowadays children are not allowed to buy fireworks so they probably go to McDonald's with the proceeds.
Although you will see shops selling fireworks springing up everywhere in London throughout October, it is not recommended to buy fireworks as they are dangerous and every year serious injuries occur. The best idea is to attend an organized firework display as you can't rival an organized display as they spend a fortune on pyrotechnics and most are free to attend.
It looks like the best display this year will be at Alexandra Palace where there is a full day of fun on 5th November for Back With a Bang. If you miss that, the fireworks are back at the Lord Mayor's Show this year. Other displays are usually listed on the excellent IanVisits site.