The brisk autumnal air is coming, can you feel it?  The leaves are beginning their journey from the deep greens of summer to the colorful reds, yellows, and oranges of fall.  Soon they’ll be falling from the trees and swirling around in the wind.

So grab a comfy sweatshirt, a blanket you don’t mind using on the ground, some of your favorite vegan friends- autumn is the perfect time to make some fire.

Here’s some tips to make your fires as vegan fun as it can be.

1. No Fancy Equipment Necessary

To get started you’re going to need a safe place to build a fire.  You could go and buy a metal grated fire pit, they sell them at most of the large box stores these days.  Or, you can make your own.

2. Safety First

Make sure the area surrounding your fire pit is cleared of any detritus that could catch fire if an ember jumped out.  Be mindful of the animals living at your home if they will be outside.  Keep chairs, cases of beer, and other items away from the edge of the fire pit.  Seems elementary I realize, but trust me- it’s very important to know the distance you need to be from the fire to avoid melting your flip flops, I’m just saying.

3. Free Firewood

If you’re going to have a fire, you’re going to need to build it.  Channel your inner scout and soon you’ll have a blazing fire to chill by.

  • Collect kindling by cleaning up your yard and neighborhood.  Trust me, your neighbors would love it if you collected the dead branches from their lawns.  Just be sure to gain permission before trespassing on someone’s property.
  • Save junk mail (not the heavily inked printed junk, recycle that) or newspapers as your firestarter.
  • Seek out scrap wood.  Be sure not to burn lumber, as most of it has been chemically treated.

4. Reuse & Recycle

Instead of buying brand new fancy lawn furniture, re-use items from yard sales or the like.  Grab a bunch of old blankets and make a circle around the fire for everyone to sit down on.  Use cushions from lawn furniture on blankets on the ground.  And don’t forget the animals, add a cushy spot for them to sit on.  Serve beverages in thick coffee mugs that you can find in a thrift store for pennies.

5. Vegan Eats

Cooking up vegan grub on a campfire is super easy and delicious.  You could:

  • Get some Dandies. Put ‘em on a stick.  Light those babies up.  Blow ‘em out and enjoy.  Add dairy-free chocolate and honey-free graham crackers for the ultimate vegan smores.
  • Wrap onions, green peppers, pineapple, and chucks of seitan in foil with salt, pepper, and garlic.  Toss it on a grate over the fire, cook until tender.
  • Roast whole corn on the cob [still in the husk].  Corn is harvested in October, making it one of the most delightful additions to camp food.
  • Package up sliced potatoes with chives, green or white onions, and a bit of olive oil [salt, pepper to taste].  Cook until tender.

There is something to be said for having a hot beverage on a cool night by the fire.  In your thick thrift store mugs you could serve:

  • Hot apple cider.  Spike it with rum or not, add cinnamon sticks and thin apple slices for flair.
  • Hot Coffee.  Spike it with rum  or not- add warm non-dairy milk, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves for an autumn latte.
  • Hot Tea.  Add cardamon, ginger, cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves, agave, and warm non-dairy milk for a chai tea.

How about you?  Share some of your ideas for some vegan fun around the fire.