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5 creative and unusual ideas for scattering ashes

Family watching ashes being scattered in a firework display

After a cremation you will have to decide what to do with the cremated ashes. Some people bury the ashes, some keep them at home in a decorative urn, others choose to spread the ashes in a place of personal significance.

When it comes to how you do this, there are more options than you might imagine. Here we take a look at five unusual, extravagant and creative ways of scattering ashes that will certainly make for a memorable goodbye.

1. Viking ship urn

Viking ship on fire Photo by Stuart Chalmers

The Vikings are famous for their fiery ship burials. A Viking longboat carrying the person who had passed away, and any possessions they may need in the afterlife, was set adrift and then set alight by an archer with a flaming arrow.

As you might expect, actual Viking-style ship cremations are now prevented by various laws, so you won’t be able to say farewell exactly as the Norsemen did. However, you can buy a Viking ship urn. Your loved one’s ashes can be placed inside this longboat-shaped urn, which will float when placed in water. Simply set it aflame and let it drift away for a glorious Viking-style scattering.

2. Biodegradable balloons

Balloon being released into the sky

Balloon releases are another unusual way to scatter ashes. A small amount of the ashes is placed inside each balloon. When the balloons are released, they will rise up into the sky, some as high as 5 miles, where they will burst and scatter the ashes.

Be sure to use biodegradable balloons made of latex to minimise any impact on wildlife, and do not use any string or ribbons to tie them together. Your funeral director may be able to help you find a company that specialises in organising balloon releases.

3. Round-the-world trip

Grand Canyon on a world trip

This way of scattering ashes definitely weighs in as one of the costliest, but it’s what one woman chose to do with her husband’s ashes after he passed away. Tré Miller Rodríguez documented her round-the-world trip over the course of several years, scattering a little of the ashes in various places, including the Bahamas, Brazil, the USA, Cuba, England, and Hungary.

Clearly this idea won’t be suitable for everyone. You may want your loved one to be in one place, or you may want to be able to visit where they were laid to rest. More practically, you may not have plans to travel around the world any time soon. But if your loved one was a globetrotter and loved to travel to new places, it could be an ideal way to honour their memory.

4. From a plane

Historic fighter plane scattering ashes

You can have loved one’s ashes scattered from a plane – perfect if they were a free spirit or aviation enthusiast. Again, this option won’t be the cheapest, as it usually requires a privately-chartered plane, so do consider budgeting issues before setting your heart on this as a final farewell.

Some companies are able to scatter ashes from vintage WWII planes, like the Spitfire and Grasshopper. Another company, Your Wings, scatters ashes during a filmed skydive, which you can then keep as a personalised DVD.

5. Fireworks display

Scattering ashes with fireworks

You can now have your loved one’s ashes incorporated into fireworks. A full fireworks display can make for a spectacular scattering ceremony and some companies can arrange and perform the display for you.

Fireworks may not be suitable for everyone, but celebration of life funerals are becoming increasingly popular and the firework display can be a great way of saying goodbye in style. Talk to your funeral director about arranging a fireworks display, as they should be able to recommend companies that can help.

Read our top five places to scatter ashes or alternative funeral ideas for more inspiration, or contact a funeral director to discuss your wishes.

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