Stay legal if you’re planning fireworks this Halloween

Date published: 24 September 2019

If you are planning to buy, possess or use fireworks this Halloween, it’s time to start thinking about applying for a licence.

Graphic fireworks

That’s the message from the Department of Justice, which must receive applications for fireworks use over the Halloween period no later than Wednesday, October 23, 2019.

The law states that if you wish to purchase, possess or use fireworks, a licence is required. It is an offence to buy or be in possession of fireworks without one.

Claire Archbold, Director of Safer Communities, DoJ, said: “The Department will process applications as quickly as possible, although I would urge anyone wishing to obtain a licence to apply in good time.

“Fireworks must be purchased from a supplier who has been registered by the Department of Justice. Don’t be tempted to buy from illegal sources as you could face prosecution. Registered retailers should be easily identified as they must display their licence or certificate of registration prominently at the point of sale.”

Parents and retailers are encouraged to act responsibly, comply with the law and use fireworks safely to help reduce firework injuries and ensure Halloween is an enjoyable time for everyone.

Claire Archbold added: “It’s important to be aware what young people are doing and to talk to them about the risks of misusing fireworks. Most injuries and incidents could have been avoided if the firework code had been followed. The firework code can be viewed on the NI Direct website.”

Licence applications and a list of retailers licensed to sell fireworks are available from Application forms are also available by telephoning 0300 200 7881 or directly from a registered retailer.

The licence fee where there are less than 100 spectators is £30; for 100 to 1,000 spectators is £80 and for more than 1,000 spectators is £160. Fireworks listed on your licence are the only fireworks that you can purchase. If you require alternative or additional fireworks, you must have your licence amended before making the purchase.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Details on how to apply for a licence, including an application form, can be obtained from NI Direct Guidance for members of the public and information on the law surrounding fireworks can also be obtained at this website. You may also obtain application forms from those businesses registered or licensed to store explosives. Information and advice on using fireworks safely and a list of retailers can also be found at
  2. Information for retailers regarding the legislation regarding the storage of fireworks is available at
  3. Completed applications forms together with the appropriate fee should be returned to Firearms and Explosives Branch, Room 4.22, Castle Buildings, Stormont Estate, Belfast, BT4 3SG.
  4. Fireworks listed on your licence are the only fireworks that you can purchase. If you require alternative or additional fireworks, you must contact the Department’s Firearms and Explosives Branch to have your licence amended before the purchase is made.
  5. The Explosive (Fireworks) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2002 came into operation in May 2002 and made it compulsory for anyone wishing to purchase, possess and use fireworks to obtain a licence.
  6. Members of the public are encouraged to pass information about the illegal sale and use of fireworks to the PSNI or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
  7. All media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office on 028 9052 6444. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer on 028 90378110.


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