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  • Karl Mitchell-Shead

Using Fireworks to Scatter Ashes

Updated: Mar 4

When laying a loved one to rest, choosing cremation opens up almost unlimited options for creative and unique memorials.


The idea of scattering cremated remains with fireworks was made famous at the star-studded funeral of Hunter S. Thompson, the famously irreverent author who invented gonzo journalism. Thompson, the author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Rum Diaries, and other books, had always wanted to be sent off by having his ashes shot out of a cannon. In fact, decades before his death, he had designed 153-foot-tall tower just for that purpose. When the ailing Thompson committed suicide at the age of 67, his friends and family carried out his final wishes with an even more stylish twist: They had Thompson’s cremated remains loaded into special fireworks shells. They were, indeed fired out of a cannon at the top of his chosen tower, but they also exploded in a colorful fireworks display. It was said to be a fitting funeral for a flamboyantly unique man, and it’s started a trend.


Thompson’s offbeat funeral inspired the family of Tom Moore, a Florida man who loved Independence Day fireworks displays. When Moore passed away in 2010 at the age of 70, his wife, Ann and their friends, who own the Santore & Sons Fireworks Company, decided to load his cremated remains into fireworks shells for a community display on the 4th of July, 2010. Now the trend is growing worldwide, with advice available on how to create your own cremains-containing fireworks display, and firework companies like Illusion Fireworks specialising in the creation of ashes-loaded fireworks shells.


If you are thinking of memorial fireworks to scatter the ashes of a loved one, speak to the Illusion Fireworks team who will talk you through the entire process! Find our more in our Memorial Fireworks section!

Memorial Firework Loaded with Ashes

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