Few Independence Day traditions are more colorful or exciting than firework displays, but they can carry a significant cost. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in the month surrounding the Fourth of July, about 250 people go to the emergency room every day with firework-related injuries. In addition to injuries, fireworks also contribute to noise pollution and contaminate the environment.
If you want to avoid the drawbacks of setting off fireworks, you can switch to a firework-free holiday celebration this year. There are plenty of fun alternatives for both kids and adults that don’t involve fiery explosions or dangerous chemicals. Here are a few to consider for your next Independence Day party.
Keeping it loud
You can easily replace the exciting sound of exploding fireworks with noises that are much safer but still plenty satisfying. Swapping fireworks with balloons is an easy way to get loud on the Fourth of July. To accompany the noise with festive color, you could fill your balloon fireworks with confetti. Storebought or homemade noisemakers are another fun and simple way to raise a ruckus.
You could even follow the lead of Downieville, California. According to KCRA, wildfire risks keep this small town from celebrating with fireworks. Instead, residents congregate at Main Street each year to stomp on bubbly packaging material.
Fire and light
The opportunity to play with fire is undeniably one of the reasons why fireworks are so popular, and it’s also one of the reasons they’re quite dangerous. For a safer, more community-friendly activity, consider hosting a campfire or bonfire where partiers can roast marshmallows, swap stories and sing songs. If you go this route, make sure your fire is safely contained, local fire regulations are strictly obeyed and flames are properly extinguished when the party is over.
If you’re looking for an activity that eliminates fire risk completely, you could hand out an assortment of flashlights and glow sticks to partygoers and let them create their own light show. It’s also easy to concoct a non-toxic solution that lets kids blow their own glow-in-the-dark bubbles.
Bringing people together
Firework displays are a popular way to bring communities together, so any list of alternatives should include options that do the very same. If you live in a neighborhood where it’s a possibility, consider organizing a block party that brings everyone together. A bustling celebration with food, games and firework alternatives is sure to be a hit. If you’re feeling a little less ambitious but still want a larger get-together, you could host an outdoor movie night instead.
Moving beyond the neighborhood level, Fox News reports that some communities have replaced their annual firework celebrations with high-tech laser displays, especially in wildfire-prone areas. If you live somewhere that puts on one of these shows, be sure to attend it in support — and if your city or community doesn’t host a Fourth of July laser display, consider advocating for one with local leaders.
Whether you’re organizing a few simple backyard activities or throwing a big Independence Day bash, it’s possible to replace the danger and pollution of fireworks with safer, kid-friendly options for the wider community. Here’s wishing you success as you plan for a firework-free Fourth of July.