My Sardinian son-in-law told me that when he was a lad, he and his friends would use a mix of kerosene and water, which when ignited would send a an empty food can into the air. They raised their funds to buy the kerosene by collecting scrap metal and selling it. One day they collected a lot of scrap metal and bought a lot of kerosene. Their minds then turned to a bigger can and they quickly acquired a large oil drum. Preparations were made and when someone had finally been persuaded to ignite the charge the oil drum was sent skywards. It was only when the drum had become a mere speck in the sky did they think that it would have to come down - somewhere - and decided to disperse rapidly.
The Bun Bang Fai Festival in Isan and Lao is definitely up there too.. some horrific accidents happen every year when lighting the massive rockets. (No accidents in the link attached). Rouketopolemos in Greece is also pretty mad.
One of my cousins built a spud gun. It fired spuds about half a mile. He tested it one night. A few hours later there was bang on his door. "It's the police rapid response squad!". He told them it was a prototype rook scarer and commented later that 5 hours didn't seem much of a rapid response.