When I was a kid, my dad would always host incredible parties. He’d get a projector set up against a blank wall that we could play video games on, buy us tons of candy and other goodies, and decorate; the whole nine yards. One of the most memorable parties he would host is what I like to call a fireworks party, though you might call it a lights party, or a pyrokinetic party. I’m going to share with you the secrets of making your own fireworks party, so that you and your family might enjoy the same excitement and joy that mine has.
Fireworks parties are all about dazzling displays of light and colour. You’ll want to host the party at night, preferably in the summertime when it’s warm enough to stay out for awhile. A blazing bonfire is perfectly on theme for a fireworks party, so I highly recommend getting a fire pit together. You can purchase powders that will change the colour of the fire in the pit; various metals and chemicals can transform your fire into blues, reds and greens. When you don’t have access to powders, copper pipes can be used to turn the fire green; some people put a garden hose into the copper piping for greater effect, but the pipe alone, or copper shavings, should do in a pinch.
You might string up multicoloured lights around trees and structures in the area you’re hosting the party; blinking lights and colourful paper lanterns are particularly on the theme. Sparklers are a blast, too; give every guest their own sparkler and have fun trying to create shapes, letters and patterns with the sparklers.
The most important part of the party is, of course, the fireworks. Where you can obtain consumer fireworks varies depending on where you live; here in Winnipeg, you can’t go wrong with Archangel Fireworks. There’s tons of different styles of fireworks, from the classic Roman Candle to fountains and noisemakers and cakes and more; the styles will describe how the firework is constructed and how you can expect it to go off. Take the time to go into your local fireworks shop and discuss the products with the people who work there; they can give you recommendations for fireworks or assortments of fireworks that will fit your budget, as well as safety tips.
The party should be held primarily outdoors. There are a few advantages to this: it sets the ambiance, it creates space for your guests, and it takes full advantage of the bonfire you have blazing. Your food choices, then, should be easy outdoor eats; food you can grill over the firepit (I recommend kolbassa over traditional hot dogs), finger foods like chips and sandwiches, popsicles and canned drinks.
One of the main disadvantages of hosting a party in an outdoor space is the number of insects and other pests – in Winnipeg especially, a party held outdoors can easily be ruined by mosquitos, not to mention wasps, ants and other critters. Have a pest control company do preventive pest management on your property before the party; this may involve getting rid of stagnant water, looking for anthills and wasp nests, using insecticides or setting up anti-pest measures. You might also elect to get mosquito-repellant candles, very apropos for the party.
You should give your guests quite a bit of notice before the party itself; it may be useful to get them to bring lawn chairs if they don’t have them. You should have a table or two set up with the food and drinks; conveniently, tables double as surfaces where you can put up more lights!
Safety and Regulations
Every city and town will have their own regulations regarding firework safety. The main thing you need is a big yard; firing prokinetics off within 100 feet of a building isn’t legal, and you need to get a permit in order to actually use the fireworks. Fortunately, the permit itself is free in most places. In order to get the permit, you’ll need to be over 18 years of age, which is a very good thing; this is an event that’s great for kids, but you’ll want a bunch of adults nearby to make sure everything works out well.
A party with this much fire does pose certain safety hazards, so having a lot of water on hand, as well as a fire extinguisher, is a very good idea. Only the adults at the party should set off fireworks; kids should just sit back and watch the light show.
Another major concern when having a fireworks party is the neighbours. The nature of the party means it’s both going to be loud and at night, so it’s courteous to keep those who may be sleeping in mind. Let your neighbours know about the party so they don’t get startled by the loud noises; better yet, invite them to come along and enjoy the light show! Try to set off the fireworks before 11 PM to reduce the chances that you’ll wake anybody up. The sound of explosions can be triggering for people with PTSD from their time in the military, so be sure to respect the wishes of anyone who served; it’s not worth having a party if someone is going to relive trauma because of it.
Be sure to carefully read all of the instructions that come with the fireworks. This should go without saying, but just in case: do not point fireworks at each other. Do not point fireworks at your face. When a firework doesn’t go off quite when you expect it to, don’t go check it by grabbing it and looking at it; prod it with a long object from a distance, and check the instructions for what to do in case of a misfire. While the party has a pyrotechnic bent, we don’t want anyone to end up looking like the Human Torch.