It’s not an uncommon last wish for someone to want to go out with a bang and have their funeral ashes scattered by fireworks.

It also very common for loved ones to want to cherish the happy memories they had with someone and to celebrate the great life that has sadly passed away.

Scattering Ashes firework displays or as we call them Celebration of Life fireworks displays do just that, and can scatter the cremation ashes at the same time.

But what’s involved?

How are the cremation ashes scattered by fireworks?

This is the first key question people normally ask.

Scattering the ashes is obviously optional, as is the quantity that is scattered. Some people have all the ashes scattered, whilst others only have a cup full scattered by the fireworks, but we have also scattered two set of ashes at the same time.

Whatever the overall quantity of ashes to be scattered, small portions are loaded into a large number of individual fireworks that will be used in the display. Most of the ashes will be scattered by two types of fireworks knows as mines and cakes.

It’s a common request for the ashes to go up in one large rocket. Whilst rockets can be used, they are not ideal as the volume of ashes they can hold is very small – even the really big ones. The total weight of cremation ashes is anywhere between 2.5kg and 4.5kg, and the max weight a rocket can carry is 50grams, so it would require at least 50 rockets to scatter all the ashes. Rockets are very expensive, but importantly are very susceptible to wind conditions which makes their use in displays problematic and if it’s too windy they can’t be used. If the use of rockets is a particular wish, we normally recommend putting 4 rockets into a display, with the rest of the ashes being scattered by other fireworks.

Where and when the ashes are loaded into the fireworks is up to the individuals. Some people prefer to send or deliver the ashes to us so we can load them in before we get to the display, but others naturally want to keep the ashes with them till the last moment and give them to us when we arrive on site so they are loaded on the day. It’s worth saying that some people also like to see the ashes being loaded into the fireworks which we can also facilitate.

Where and when can a Celebration of Life fireworks display be done?

As the display will be a professional display, the safety distances we operate under are generally greater than those specified for the public use of fireworks. Broadly speaking there needs to be at least 30 meters between the fireworks and the audience, and then about 100 meters of clear space beyond the fireworks for fallout (i.e. space where there are no people, or buildings that could get easily damaged). This is only a guide as the prevailing wind direction and the type of fireworks being used play an important factor.

Generally speaking, private homes are not suitable unless they have large enough gardens.

The kind of locations we have provided scattering ashes displays include: football, cricket, rugby and golf clubs, town and country parks, country house hotels, coastal beaches, but very importantly the location must have the land owners permission to hold a fireworks display.

Getting permission to hold a scattering ashes with fireworks display is normally straight forward, but can require a lot of determination as the number of organisations you need to get permission from can be quite a few. However, in our experience most organisations do what they can to help make a display of this nature happen so don’t be put off.

Key thing organisations will want to know is who is doing the display. They will normally be happy to proceed as long as you can say the display is being provided by Halo FX – an experienced professional display company, who are full members of the BPA (British Pyrotechnists Association), with £10 million public liability insurance and who will carry out a full event specific risk assessment and method statement.

Once you have got permission to have a fireworks display you should give notice to sensitive neighbours that you are planning to have a fireworks display. By sensitive neighbours we generally mean people with horses or dogs, or anyone that might be upset by fireworks. There is no legal requirement to do this and you do not need any kind of licence for a display – this is simply best practice to avoid any unpleasantness afterwards. Firework displays are not permitted after 11pm at night, and we always suggest having the display as early as possible once its dark enough.

I hope the above information is helpful, but if you have any further questions please get in touch.