Choosing Fireworks: A Buyer’s Guide

If you aren’t going to a display this year, you have probably decided to organise your own fireworks. Fountains, rockets, roman candles, sparklers and more… Choosing the right fireworks for Bonfire Night can be a total minefield. This handy guide will point you in the right direction and make sure you’re prepared for one of the most exciting days of the year!

Firework laws 

There are certain laws surrounding fireworks which you should be aware of before hosting your Bonfire Night celebrations. If you sell fireworks illegally, you can be fined up to £5000 and get six months in prison! Police also give out £90 on-the-spot fines.

  1. It’s illegal for anyone under 18 to purchase adult fireworks.
  2. It’s against the law to set fireworks off between 11 pm and 7 am, except for Bonfire Night when the cut off is at midnight and New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year when the cut-off is at 1 am.
  3. Category four fireworks can only be used by professionals.
  4. You can only buy fireworks from licensed shops on the dates 15th October to 10th November, 26th to 31st December and three days before Diwali and Chinese New Year.

Fireworks in built-up areas

You should let your neighbours know if you plan on letting off fireworks. As well as common courtesy, you’ll be less likely to receive noise complaints as you’ve actually let them know about it beforehand. In a built-up area, there will be a lot of people around you who could be disturbed by the noise.

Young children can be scared of the loud bangs, so keep the noise down to a minimum and don’t keep the fireworks going all night. As well as children, pets can also be very frightened by the loud bangs and flashes which are produced by fireworks. You should follow these steps to ensure you’re keeping stress levels for pets to a minimum on Bonfire Night. It’s also important if you have your own pets.

Which fireworks do I choose?

If you’re looking for a bold and loud display, you’ll want to opt for loud fireworks. However, if you’re looking for a quieter display, there are fireworks which are silent or produce very little noise. These are suited to families with young children or pets.

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Loud fireworks:


Arguably the most popular fireworks on bonfire night are rockets. The oldest of their kind, they consist of a paper tube with a loaded propellant to make them lift off. Rockets can be aimed and follow a trajectory as they fly. To create different colours and patterns, different chemicals are used.


Fountains stay stationary on the ground but fire colourful sparks at 10 feet or more in the air. Some fountains create a display for more than three minutes, which makes them the longest lasting fireworks.

Roman Candles

Roman candles come in a range of sizes and can fire anything from a few shots to hundreds per candle. There’s a huge variety of roman candles, from noisy, quiet, colourful or crackling.

Quiet fireworks:


Sparklers are a great way to enjoy fireworks without making noise! A top tip for firework safety is to buy bamboo sparklers rather than metal wire ones as they’re less likely to burn fingers. Especially important if children will be holding them.

Paper Lanterns

Not strictly classified as fireworks, paper lanterns create a stunning effect and are lots of fun on Bonfire Night. They are also perfect for families with young children or pets as they don’t make any noise!


Great for quiet firework displays, wheels don’t bang either. Some will whistle quite loudly, so take that into account in case you are looking for completely quiet fireworks.

Organising Your Display…

After you’ve the fireworks you’ll be using on bonfire night, you should start to organise your display. Smaller fireworks should always be positioned at the front of the display, with the larger ones such as rockets at the back. Make these are the furthest away from the people who will be watching. Set up the display in daylight so you can see what you’re doing and create a sketch of how your display looks on paper.

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