Celebrating 66 years

'We burn to do good'


Littlehampton Bonfire Society





Like all the society’s costumes, the North American Indian costumes are hand made, taking many months to complete. It is said that a true bonfire costume is never finished, as there is always some alteration necessary to make it more authentic or elaborate. Double trailer headdresses and war bonnets are worn, and the methods of construction of these are passed from member to member. In the early years these were made from turkey feathers, collected from a local turkey farm in Norway Lane, Littlehampton. Progression from hand plucking to mechanised methods meant that these feathers were no longer suitable, and the raw materials for creating the headdresses are now imported from America. The attention to detail is shown by the intricate hand made beadwork - a skill that several of the members possess. Thousands of tiny coloured beads are woven on looms into traditional Indian patterns, or sewn onto cloth or leather to form circular rosettes.

As well as the North American Indians and the Tudors, other popular costumes with Littlehampton members over the years have included Zulu warriors, Vikings, cowboys, Mexicans and pearly kings and queens. The high standard of costume is maintained by members being encouraged to participate in the various individual fancy dress classes on the day of the celebrations, for both adult and junior members.


In addition, the society is judged against other bonfire and carnival societies at the events throughout Sussex and Kent that it supports, and is justly proud of its achievements in these competitions. The society has been judged the best dressed visiting society on many occasions at celebrations all over Sussex and Kent, together with numerous runners up placings, and successes by members in individual fancy dress classes. The society has also achieved considerable success in recent years in the prestigious ‘Sussex Championship’ award, made annually to the best dressed bonfire or carnival society in Sussex. This culminated in the title of Sussex Champions in 1998 for the first time in its history, with this achievement being repeated several times since then.


Sussex Championship


1993 = 2nd

1998 = 1st

1999 = 2nd

2000 = 3rd

2001 = 2nd

2002 = 1st

2004 = 1st

2006 = 1st

2007 = 1st

2010 = 3rd

2013 = 3rd

2014 = 2nd

2015 = 3rd

Why not join our society and walk in costume in our processions?

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Unlike most Sussex bonfire and carnival societies, the society has never had a set costume, instead allowing its members to choose their own theme. However, it has been led throughout its history by its North American Indian pioneers, resplendent in fine feathered headdresses and beaded costumes, and it is the Indians that most people associate with Littlehampton Bonfire Society. In recent years the North American Indians have been followed by a growing contingent of Tudor lords and ladies in period dress.

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Links to North American Indian craft suppliers that we use are below. If you would like to place an order for your costume please contact us as postage and customs often work out cheaper if ordered in bulk.