What Happened To Jumping Jacks?

Older readers may have fond memories of these. But where did they go?

Key information

  • Popular in the old days but now banned in the UK.
  • It was a small firework that was usually lit and thrown and would then fly around erratically.
  • Nothing similar available in the UK as all items with an “erratic flight” have been outlawed.
  • Guides to other types of fireworks can be found in the Firework Guides main menu.

You’ll either remember Jumping Jacks or you won’t, depending on your age. They were small fireworks which you would light by the blue touch paper (and sometimes throw) which then burned in an erratic way, jumping all around the garden with sparks and crackles. 

Unfortunately the UK government decided at some point in the late nineties that Jumping Jacks, along with some other fireworks such as bangers and mini-rockets, were simply too “dangerous” in terms of erratic flight and their appeal to youth on account of their low cost (i.e. a pocket money item). So they were banned from sale to UK consumers.

There isn’t anything similar on the market because by definition anything trying to replicate a Jumping Jack would also have an erratic flight. The only novelty effects currently available under existing CE fireworks regulations would be ground spinners and crackling ball fireworks, both designed to be lit on the ground at close quarters and then crackle and fizz with sparks.

As Jumping Jacks are now quite old and haven’t been around for some time, they’ve become collectable items. If you have any old ones lying around in a drawer or the attic they might be worth something! There’s a healthy trade in these and other vintage fireworks (on the basis of collecting them, not for letting off) among collectors. I have a whole sub-forum dedicated to these items and other vintage pyro in my busy online community: Vintage Fireworks Forum.

Thanks to UKFR Forum member TONYB for kindly supplying the photos used on this page.

Jumping Jacks FAQ

They were banned in the UK many years ago due to their "erratic flight".

You can't - they were banned many years ago in the UK due to their erratic flight.

No because any imitation of a Jumping Jack would, by definition, be operating in a manner that's outlawed in a UK consumer firework i.e. flying erratically.

It's complicated and subjective. They did jump around all over the place - by design - and most grandparents seem to have stories of them burning or scorching something they shouldn't have. But like all fireworks they were safe if used carefully. 

Yes. Like all vintage UK fireworks they can be valuable and sought-after depending on condition and age, with older blue touch paper versions being of most interest to collectors. My Fireworks Forum is a good place to ask for a value or any interest in buying.

Try the Nostalgia section of my Fireworks Forum. There are hundreds of photos of vintage fireworks covering all types and ages.

Further information and next steps

If you are following the Beginner’s Guides then you can click here to return to that page. Alternatively you can click here to see the main menu of each firework type in this section if you want to read more (or click on the menu at the top of this page to access all of my guides).

If you have any questions then please feel free to join my Fireworks Forum and ask away. Members are always here to help beginners and no question is too silly.

If you’re ready to buy fireworks for your display then the Buying Fireworks section will guide you further.