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Booze and Explosives: People Share Their Worst Fourth of July Stories

Learn from these terrifying tales of patriotic celebrations gone awry, and try to keep your shit together this year.
July 4, 2016, 4:00pm
photo by sean flannigan

Independence Day is America's annual shitshow. A three-day weekend in the middle of summer that plays host to the tradition of mixing alcohol and pyrotechnics. Countless things can go wrong on on the Fourth of July, so Broadly spoke with people about their worst memories of the holiday. Learn from these terrifying tales of patriotic celebrations gone awry, and try to keep your shit together this year.


I was at my old roommate's parent's house, Fourth of July 2013. Lighting fireworks off the porch and drinking consuming a vast array of red white and blue jello shots. Everything was going great until a gigantic black spider ran out across the porch past my feet. I screamed, then my other friend screamed, then my boyfriend stomped it and it exploded into a million tiny black baby spiders, like the most horrific, creepy firework you can imagine. I still get the heebie-geebies when I think about it.


One Fourth of July I was so drunk that I let my drunk friend convince me that he could drive. We rear ended another car in the parking lot, almost crashed off a bridge, and almost crashed into my mom's garage. The worst part about it was I thought it was all normal and fine until the next morning.


Fourth of July fireworks when I was in fifth grade. We were kind of playing at the boy/girl thing and I had a "boyfriend" who was sweet and lovely and we hardly ever spoke. All my friends were playing around on these bleachers, waiting for it to get dark. We had picnic food. A girl decided to mush her feet in the pasta salad, because no one was eating it. It grossed me out so much I gagged and vomited just a tiny bit. I got my first kiss that night.


My friends and I made a smoke bomb using and old-timey chemistry book that was from the 60s and was not approved by the FDA. We were able to use saltpeter that we stole from a high school chemistry class, mixed it with sugar, put it in a wax cup and that itself is a smoke bomb. We brought it to our middle school and lit it and it made a ton of smoke, way more than we expected, and we ran because we were scared, and then somebody called the cops and then about three firetrucks and eight police cars showed up because they thought the school was on fire.


One Fourth of July I was in London studying abroad when I stopped at a bar where the owner reminded me of Hagrid and let my friends and I stay until 5 am drinking really expensive whiskey for free. There was a girl on my trip who was …not a nice lady. So when we got too drunk and started walking home, I yelled at her and made her cry really hard and I felt REALLY BAD. So it killed my buzz, and I ended up spending an hour apologizing (even though I totally shouldn't have because she was very, very mean).


I was nine years old and my brother was seven, and we had a big barbecue in my backyard, and my whole family was there. My uncle and his son, my cousin, were drinking heavily and I was drinking right along side them. It was like a sip here, a sip there — they were kind of teasing me with it, and they were doing the same thing with my brother, who again was just seven. He had a lot of hot dogs that night, and when we walked from my house to a nearby church to watch fireworks, my brother started throwing up all over my uncle, just because he drank like four sips of beer and ate a bunch of hot dogs. Watching that was my worst Fourth of July experience.


I def got hit with in the arm with firecracker in Vermont.