Leisure: Firework sales lose their spark

Bonfire Night could be losing its appeal due to new legislation banning the sale of fireworks to under-18s and the increasing popularity of US-style Hallowe'en celebrations.

Howard Garman, of Celebration Fireworks, said: "Initial figures show that sales are down 73 per cent on last year. That is quite a big drop for us but other people are likely to be well below that figure, probably 65 per cent is a truer figure across the country." Ron Rapley, of Standard Fireworks, also said that sales this year had been disappointing.

Some manufacturers believe that 5 November celebrations are being muted because more people are putting their energies into Hallowe'en. Hamleys toy shop, in central London, said that it had sold more monster masks, costumes and other paraphernalia this year than ever before.