Do you want to put on a professional-grade fireworks show to entertain your friends and family? In most states, you can absolutely buy aerial fireworks that will rival professional pyrotechnics in beauty. The rest is just a matter of setting them off. 

Start by choosing the right fireworks for the kind of display you want to put on. Then you can get your display space ready and take the right precautions to make sure you and your audience stays safe. Here’s what you need to do to dazzle your audience with a fireworks show at your home.

Choose the Right Fireworks for an Impressive Display
First things first, you need to understand the different kinds of fireworks effects and how different kinds of pyrotechnics work so you can paint a fiery tableau in the sky that will amaze your audience and create long-lasting memories. Non-aerial fireworks like fountains and cones are great for a show-opener, and can be placed as close as 15 feet from your audience. Novelties like sparklers and smoke bombs can serve as entertaining show-openers.

Cakes and z-cakes allow for impressive combination effects that might be hard to achieve with individual mortar tubes. Barrages produce smaller effects than mortars and cakes, but can be attached to a mortar rack pointing in different directions for more exciting displays. Mortars, artillery shells, and tubes usually only fire one break, but can be fused together to fill up the sky. Noise-making fireworks can also add to the performance – choose different noises at different times for the best effect, and make sure to save your most impressive pyrotechnics for the grand finale.

Prepare Your Space
Aerial fireworks shows require a lot of space, so if you have a small downtown backyard, it would be best to stick with ground-based fireworks for your safety and that of your neighbors. If you have a large space free of trees, overhead wires, buildings, and other structures, you can probably put on an aerial display.

You’ll need a fallout zone at least 30 feet across or more, so that when hot material falls back to earth, it doesn’t land on overhead power lines, homes, buildings, garages, brush piles, or anything else that’s flammable. In addition to clearing any flammable materials from your fallout zone, it’s not a bad idea to hose things down so that they’re less likely to catch on fire from falling sparks.

Your audience will need to remain at a considerable distance from the firing line. Spectators should stand at a distance that is at least 1.5 times the distance of your highest-erupting aerial firework. Be prepared to retreat that far yourself after lighting each firework.

Put Together Your Firing Line
The last thing you need is a mortar tube or bottle rocket falling over at the last second and firing its breaks directly into your audience. That’s why you need your audience to stand so far back. It’s also why you need to make sure your fireworks are well anchored to not fall over during firing.

Grab a piece of plywood about eight feet long. You can attach some lengths of two-by-four or two-by-two lumber to the bottom of the plywood to make it easier to pick up if you want. Arrange your fireworks in the order you want to light them off, then screw them to the plywood by setting screws through the plastic plates on the bottom of the fireworks, or through the clay plug at the bottom of the tube. If you’re not sure where to put the screws, set up buckets of sand and plunge your fireworks into the sand, or build your own mortar rack to keep your mortar tubes and artillery shells from falling over.

Take the Necessary Precautions
A home fireworks display can easily go wrong, so you need to take precautions to keep everyone safe. Start by designating one person to handle the fireworks – you don’t need members of your audience handling explosives, especially if it’s the kind of party where alcohol is served. It’s best if you light off all aerial and ground-based fireworks yourself, or designate someone who is willing to stay sober and light the fireworks display. Keep all fireworks, even novelties like sparklers, out of the hands of children. 

When lighting fireworks, lean away from the fuse so you don’t get sparks flying up in your face, and use a grill lighter to keep your hands away from any sparks that may fly from the fuse. Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes, a hat to protect your head, and long sleeves and pants to protect your skin. Closed-toed shoes are a must. It’s also important to wear all-natural fabrics, because synthetic fabrics are basically made out of plastic and will melt, rather than burn – an important distinction when your skin is underneath it.

It’s easy to dazzle your friends and family with an impressive home fireworks show. Choose the right pyrotechnics to amaze your audience, and take the right precautions when setting them off, and everyone can have a memorable good time.