Try a combo pack.
Last year for the first time, Americans spent more than $1 billion on fireworks, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association. The bulk of those purchases—$695 million—went to backyard displays (commercial events accounted for the rest).
If past trends are any indication, this year we’re on track to shoot off even more Roman Candles, Brocades, Peonies, and other exploding shells—not least of all because the Fourth falls on a weekend.
Fireworks vendors say that you can put on a nice DIY display for between $100 and $300. But to get the most bang for your buck (sorry—couldn’t help it), William Weimer, vice president of Phantom Fireworks, the country’s largest pyrotechnics retailer, suggests buying assortment packages. Containing multiple shells in different colors and patterns, they cost from $50 to $1,500. One of Phantom’s most popular, the Legion of Fire ($200), contains 9 shots and lasts for 51 seconds. (See it in action here.)
Check out this gallery of some of the most popular firework effects. You can get the whole shebang (sorry—did it again!) for less than $100.
The most common fireworks effect: a sphere that dissolves into colored stars ($25).
A round burst that leaves a visible trail of light ($17 for 16 shots).
Like a peony, but with fewer and larger stars. In this shot, it’s the blue burst at the top left ($25).
A rising trunk, followed by fanned-out “fronds” ($10 and up, usually sold in combination packages).