“The Stripes” This is our main costume, central to the Sussex Bonfire Tradition and leads the society in all processions.
Smugglers jumper in the Society’s colours of bright red, royal blue and gold stipes, the Cinque Ports colours. To order a jumper please complete the jumper measurements - see below - and send it to the membership secretary.
A head covering e.g. A black hat : tricorn, top, bowler or a knitted smugglers-style hat in either red, black or the society’s stripes or a red head scarf worn pirate / smuggler style.
A neck scarf (ideally red)
Socks (ideally red)
Jerkin black or brown (leather / leather look non flammable material)
Any other costumes march last, behind the Stripes in all processions
Whatlington Renegades were a society without a bonfire. They wore tailcoats. Some founders of HBBS were also members of Whatlington Renegades. Wearing tailcoats has been optional since that time and may be worn for other events such as the Borough’s Remembrance Day Parade, programme selling or carol singing.
The Halton Regiment is a specific additional costume to represent the regiment stationed at Halton Barracks in 1815 and the Royal Sussex Regiment. Please ask for specific details, as this costume is handmade to historically accurate details.
Naval in recognition of the Cyril and Lilian Bishop lifeboat.
Any and all costumes should be in keeping with the tradition of Sussex Bonfire.
A customs’ officer costume is worn by long serving & senior members of the society - currently the President, Vice-Presidents, current and ex-chairs. Customs Officers may walk in any position in the procession.
All members must wear their current procession badge, regardless of their costume. It shows you are a current member and therefore under our insurance.
Marshalls will ask those who cannot demonstrate they are a current member to leave the procession.
Membership is not transferable. Only the member named on the membership form is allowed to wear their procession badge.
Not acceptable at any time: items of clothing that are clearly flammable and a risk, wellingtons, modern every day clothing, branding & logos, blue jeans.
If you are uncertain about your costume please ask. See what other members are wear and/or check our website photos. Procession marshals are appointed to uphold consistency in the ranks. These are your “go to” people.
Historically Bonfire societies disguised their faces with soot to keep their anonymity; if you choose to do this, it should be applied smudged/sooty to avoid racist connotations. Overly complex facepaint designs, such as those worn by drumming groups , or Hallowe’en style designs, are not in keeping with the tradition of Bonfire and should be avoided.
With any part of your costume you should consider the type of material. Does it burn easily? Does it ignite easily? There are different dangers with different fabrics.
Safety glasses can be worn when near to fireworks, fire and when wind carries sparks, smoke and debris.
Ear plugs are recommend for use when there are loud bangs.
Members with long hair tend to plait it or tie it back.
It is recommended Junior members wear or have easy access to gloves, ear defenders and safety glasses.
Badges and armbands
Remember to wear your procession badge prominently.
Captains may wear their arm bands to show their authority within the society.
Gold badge members have long standing service to the society. They have shown commitment and service to the society and Sussex Bonfire in general and are able to help and advise.
Natural fibres, when burnt, simply turn to ash as they burn. Synthetic, non-aramid fibres, melt as they burn. If a synthetic fabric catches and starts to burn, it will melt, drip, and fuse to your skin as it does so causing intense burns.
The tighter the weave, the less flammable it is. As for weight, the thicker the fabric, the more fire resistant it is.
If a fabric is loosely woven, or loosely wornmore oxygen can get in creating a higher flammability of that particular fabric. If it is tighter, less oxygen can get into each weave making it less flammable. Avoid anything with frays and fringes.