'Tis the season of warm weather, high energy, and late nights spent with good friends. The best way to combine the three is, obviously, with a bonfire. However, having recently run into a few skeptics who find it not so obvious, I decided it would be helpful for them if I compiled a list of just a few of the reasons why bonfiring (yes, that is a word) is always a good idea. Whether it’s fear of bugs, fear of dirt, fear of smelling like smoke for a night, or fear of actually having a good time that’s holding them back, I aim to crush their doubts and explain what makes this classic summer activity so perfect. Here’s the top ten (and a half) reasons why bonfires are awesome:

  • You get to be outside. Whether you’re in the comfort of your backyard with a calm, crackling flame, or in the boondocks next to a raging inferno with several couches and stacks of pallets to be consumed nearby, there is something about being outside that is just more fun. You get fresh air, sounds of Mother Nature, and the kind of peace that only being next to an ablaze pile of wood can bring.
  • It’s super easy to meet new people. Bonfire people are, quite honestly, the best people. Everyone is there to have a good time, and it brings out the best in people. Tailgates arranged in a circle is like a constant game of musical chairs, and everyone ends up knowing everyone by the end of the night. Share a beer, share a blanket, or just share a story; bonfire people are pretty easy to please, and friends are easy to make. It’s safe to say that you’re in good company and most people are actually worth getting to know.
  • You actually have meaningful conversations. Unlike a house party where a ton of people are crammed into small rooms with loud music and hearing is out of the question, bonfires allow for people to talk. Not small, hi-what’s-your-name-and-major talk, but the kind of talks that comes from the soul. Real talk that creates a foundation for deep friendships like where you actually want to go in life, what you want to accomplish, and the things you’ve been through; it’s much different than the kind of ‘best friends’ you make in five seconds over a bathroom mirror selfie that you’ll never speak to again.
  • You get to see the night sky lit. Like, really lit. When you go to a true bonfire in the middle of nowhere, the stars are absolutely incredible. Given that the clouds cooperate, of course. Seeing the sky in all its glory gives you a little perspective sometimes, and is breathtaking no matter how many times you’ve seen it before. The moon is an impeccable mood light, and creates an atmosphere impossible to achieve indoors. There is also usually someone around that knows some constellations or old stories about various stars, which is pretty cool too (in this case, add ‘learning experience’ to why bonfires are great as well).
  • The food is awesome. Whether you like your marshmallows blackened or perfectly golden brown, or you indulge in Reese's or classic chocolate squares as your mode of melty goodness, s’mores are hands down one of the most delicious highlights of summer. Although some claim you can melt a marshmallow in a microwave and slap it on some grahams anywhere, you just can’t mimic the infused smokey flavor of the bonfire-cooked s’more. I would elaborate more on various foods that can be cooked over flames, but let’s be honest, s’mores are the most important and all that really matters.
  • You get to let out your inner pyromaniac. Fires seems to bring out the inner arsonist in everyone, and in this case, it’s okay. The bigger, the better, right? Have a couch or bed frame you no longer need? THROW IT IN THE FIRE. Have old chemistry tests and accounting notes that need to die? THROW IT IN THE FIRE. Make s’mores and don’t want to take up landfill space with the graham cracker box? THROW IT IN THE FIRE. Find a fallen tree in the middle of the woods that needs to be dragged out and put out of its misery? THROW IT IN THE FIRE. Pretty much anything is fair game, and nobody judges you because the flame it brings is just as mesmerizing to them.
  • Hakuna matata is reality. There are no worries, about anything. Spill a drink? No cleanup necessary, you’re outside. Blast your music a little too loud? Nobody cares, and they’ll probably join in and sing their hearts out. Break something and need a trashcan? Just THROW IT IN THE FIRE. Unless it’s your phone or something. Don’t go too crazy. But you get the point. You’re not inside, there are no rules, and you get to let go and be a little carefree.
  • You don’t have to dress up. Bonfire people are great because they don’t judge. Sweatshirts, jeans, and whatever kind of shoes you don’t mind getting dirty are usual attire, and requires minimum effort. If you’re coming straight from work and haven’t seen a shower or a mirror all day, nobody cares, and if you’ve been a couch potato in sweats all day, you don’t have to get all dolled up for a fun night out. As stated earlier, everyone is just there for a good time.
  • It won’t break the bank. Having a bonfire is something anyone, no matter how tight the budget, can do. If you can spare a little change for gas to get out there, nothing should stop you from going. Finding free wood to burn is never a problem, and when you get there, there’s no cover charge!
  • Bonfires are the best end to any night. Bonfires make everything better. Need a memorable ending to date night? Can’t go wrong with a bonfire for two, it’s adorable. Want to de-stress with a few friends after a rough week? Load up some trucks and caravan out to the sticks for a bonfire and night away from the rest of the world. Looking for a way to bring together a bunch of cool people who want to have a hell of a night in a carefree place? Bonfire. It can be whatever you want it to be, whether it be a rager or just a chill spot to meet a ton of new people. Basically, bonfires can make any night better, period.

P.S. even though you shouldn’t need another reason to go bonfire right this second, here’s another reason to go bonfire right this second: dogs are always welcome, and you’ll be the favorite person in attendance if you bring one. Bonus points for a puppy (just keep it away from the smoke and girls obsessed with baby animals who might try and steal it)! While it’s frowned upon to take a dog to a house or to the bar, bonfires are outside and welcome furry friends with open arms. If you were on the fence before, that’s all you should need to convince you to go right now. Happy bonfiring!