Did You Ever Play With Matches When You Were a Kid?

It seems like there was a period when I was quite young when I was fascinated with fire–but I don’t remember the specifics.


Of course!

One of my favourite things was to put just a little foil around the head of a book match (the cardboard kind you tear out of a book). Then I’d use a pin to put a hole up the back. I’d lay the pin along the longitudinal axis and push it into the head, and then remove the pin. Next, I’d make a little stand out of a paper clip. I’d put the match on the stand, head up, and use another match to heat the head until it ignited. It would fly off like a little rocket. (Which is as it should be, since it was a little rocket.)

No. I didn’t want to wet the bed. J/K. I was actually scared to light a match till I was 11 or so, and someone shamed me into it.

Now lighting ants and leaves on fire with a magnifying glass is another story… :smiley:

Yes - we used to flare whole boxes of matches, make match-and-foil rockets and also get a nut and two bolts, screw one bolt partway into the nut, scrape some match head material into the cavity, then screw the other bolt in the other side of the nut - tighten a little and throw at the ground - and it made a loud bang (usually, at least one of the bolts would never be found. I imagine a few of them probably flew off and broke windows or something)

As a kid? Heck, I do it now!

(I’m just a bit more careful now than I was when a kid.)

Ever toss a disposable cigarette lighter into a bonfire? Whee!

Or, even mess around with baking flour and a fire? You can get big nifty hovering “platters” of flame. Just loads of fun!

I once met some guys, way out in the desert, who were burning magnesium bars, and dumping water on it for the thermite effect. Emphasis: WAY out in the desert. You could see the flare for miles.

I have got to try that!

Yup! And to ensure no one saw us we concealed ourselves in a field of tall, dry grass.

I have no idea how I survived to adulthood.

Set an upholstered chair on fire in a kind of dumpster when I was about three. I ran home to tell my parents and fire trucks came and everything. Got the backs of my legs switched for that.

I used to peel my nail polish off, put the strips into an ashtray, then light them with a match. It was pretty cool. I kind of wish I could do it right now.

Yep. Even invented a way to shoot them at each other. We modified a wooden clothespin (spring type) to ignite and shoot wooden kitchen matches.

Yes, at about five or six my parents caught me playing with a box of those big kitchen matches. And for my crimes my mother lit a match and set the corner of one of my drawings on fire, and then and scorched the very tip of one of my little fingers, very lightly. And after I was done shrieking and carrying on, she told me how terrible it would be if our whole house burned down and we were all burned all over and all my things burned up. And sufficiently traumatized me to the point where I did not play with matches or fire again.

My mother had lived through a very bad house fire as a child and did not (and does not) fuck around with fire.

My mom smoked, so there were always matches and cigarette butts in an ashtray on the back of the toilet. I remember setting the roll of toilet paper on fire once. That was rather dramatic.

Elemenopy, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who was told I’d wet the bed if I played with fire.

When I was about 3, I tried to light a toy car on fire, sitting on the shag carpet. Being metal, it would not ignite. I went to complain to my father about it. He promptly gave me a spanking.

I did that. I also used to build cabins out of popsicle sticks, douse 'em with gasoline and burn them down. I was doing that with a friend of mine one day. My folks were out of town, and the babysitter couldn’t see us cuz we were hiding behind the car in the driveway (57 Buick Special, two-toned blue). In fact, we were right by the gas filler cap so it could have been worse. But as one of us was starting to torch the unfortunate cabin, I spilled some gas on my hand which kind of went up with said unfortunate cabin :eek:. The Cub Scouts saved me on this one. I knew to immediately roll it in the grass right next to us and only ended up the a huge second degree burn and a blister the size of the entire back of my hand. Still can see some of the scar tissue.

I was an oddly safety-conscious brat in this regard. I played with matches (and fire in general), but only on a concrete surface with nothing flammable nearby and with a water source handy. No one ever told me to take such precautions; I just knew that fire spreads, and I had a good imagination. I actually relaxed my caution as I got older and developed a better idea of what I could do safely.

I was never so careful about other stuff–the family doctor once jokingly offered me a bulk rate on stitches–but fire was serious business.

I’ve never played with matches, but I’ve heard that if you get one of those aluminum turkey pan and fill it with gas, then drop in a propane camping stove cartridge and light the whole thing, something interesting happens.

Best viewed from a distance.

Always fascinated with fire, and also dripping candles. I don’t know how I escaped burning the house down.

We always had a vegetable garden in the back yard, and my favorite thing was burning tomato worms (the caterpillars that fed off tomato plants) alive. Just put some newspapers on the ground, plop the worm onto the middle, and light the paper. I loved watching the worm squirm around as it burned to death.

In my defense, that’s the way we got rid of the worms back then. It’s not like my sadistic side made it up.

Never played with matches, but my brother & I sprayed kerosene on each other once.

No, I had an older brother who did that for me. He and his best friend used to do all sorts of crazy kid stuff which I could watch from the sidelines so that I didn’t have to participate.

Come to think of it, most of my life has been lived that way.

Anyway, the closest we got to playing with matches was around early November, when it would be Guy Fawkes Night, which, for those unfamiliar with this UK tradition (I think they call it Bonfire Night there) that was transferred down under, is when families can set off fireworks. It’s been made illegal in Australia since the 80s (not that it stops it entirely) but New Zealand still does it. And one of the things kids used to be able to buy were little firecrackers and bangers, and they’d blow up their toys with them. The sandpit became the WWI trenches and various toy soldiers and matchbox cars went kablooie.

I used to light candles when my mom wasn’t home. She finally caught me when I had leaned over a lit candle and caught a bit of my hair on fire. The burnt candle smell I could hide, burnt hair smell was another thing entirely.

I also got incense sticks when I was a bit older, bit after a while my mom told me I could only light one a day because the fumes from the smoke bothered her and made her cough.