Birthday Party Fireworks

Fireworks can add an extra sparkle to a birthday. This article will give you some good advice to help the evening go with a bang!


Getting started

If you haven’t already done so, read the General Advice article first which runs through the basics of having a display. This article assumes you are doing your own display with consumer fireworks rather than using a professional service.


Birthday ideas

Generally speaking aim to keep your display fairly short, especially if it is out of season. A few big cakes and rockets normally suffice.

Here are some pyro related ideas to add to the fireworks themselves:

  • Indoor fireworks can be fun especially for the older generation who remember them as children. Packs of indoor fireworks have been back on the market since the mid-noughties after a long absence.  You can also try party poppers, crackers (homemade ones can be customised for birthdays) and of course indoor sparklers and indoor fountains. Indoor sparklers can be put in the cake, or in the corks of bottles such as champagne. Ice fountains are surprisingly effective mini-fountains that you can use indoors. Of course, always check to make sure that any item you buy is suitable for indoor use.
  • Table top confetti bombs are great, a pop then a cloud of confetti. Just watch it doesn’t get in the jelly!
  • Light sticks provide up to eight hours of light and are fun indoors with the disco as well as outside during the display. They make a good “lucky dip” or “pass the parcel” prize. Other glow products include coloured necklaces, jewellery and badges! These are good for children’s birthdays.
  • Don’t forget sparklers for when you retire to the garden – everyone loves them before a display!


Customising your display

With birthdays it is always nice to customise the display. There are a few ways you can do this with fireworks, here are some suggestions.


Birthday Fireworks

A 50th birthday celebrated in lancework in this display by Dynamic Fireworks

Lancework or fire writing is normally expensive but you can cut costs and still make an impact by having just the age made up, eg 21, 30 or 50 etc. rather than the full-blown “HAPPY BIRTHDAY”. This is an excellent way to include a customised firework.

Lancework is often best fired at the very end of the display, and it is quiet in operation too, so even if you are restricted to a quiet display it will work really well. In fact just some sparklers followed by lancework makes a wonderful firework-themed gesture and won’t upset the neighbours!

21 gun salutes

Replacing the 21 here with the age being celebrated, find a cake or candle with the same number of shots. Obviously this will only work for popular combinations found in cakes such as 16, 19, 25, 50 and so on. Fire this item in isolation and announce it first, so guests understand the point of it.

Chinese lanterns

These are a wonderful item to use for birthdays. You can write dedications on them with a soft marker pen while the lantern is still folded. Be careful not to poke a hole in them though or they won’t take off! If you are really ambitious you could attempt one lantern for every year.

Of course, even a “normal” display can captivate an audience so don’t worry if you don’t have the time or inclination to take any of these extra steps – your fireworks will do a good job on their own.


Other tips

Firstly an important safety concern: Parties mean alcohol! Drink and fireworks are a very dangerous combination. All firers must remain sober when using fireworks and keep an eye on the audience. Make sure they stay a safe distance from the fireworks.

A few other pointers though for birthday parties:

  • Keep the display fairly short (eg. five minutes) to make it high impact. Longer displays can get boring, bear in mind many guests may have other priorities such as getting back to the food or drink.
  • Keep the firework area supervised at all times, vital at a party if people are nipping out into the garden for a smoke, or children are running around. Guests must not be allowed near the fireworks.
  • Do not be hassled or pressured – by others or yourself – into taking short cuts or risks. Do not be afraid to tell the guests to move to the required safety distance and do not start your display until it is safe to do so.
  • If guests bring fireworks – and some will – don’t feel obliged to use these. Having to make last minute additions if you have planned your display can cause problems. It is recommended that you specifically note on your invitations not to bring fireworks or you could end up with dozens of selection boxes and hundreds of tiny (useless) fireworks.
  • Check the area is safe after the display and all the fireworks have gone off.


Further information

If you need any further help feel free to ask in the busy UKFR Fireworks Forum. You might also find the other articles in this section useful if your display falls into any other category such as quiet or for a small garden, so do have a look at those too.

When you are ready to buy your fireworks, always give priority to UKFR advertisers and those listed on the Buy Fireworks page (find out why).  Once you have purchased your fireworks head over to the Using Fireworks section for expert advice on how to set them up and let them off.

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