Whats a gender reveal

A couple recently set fire to 47,000 acres of southern Arizona, at a cost of $8m (£6.3m), what with firefighting and whatnot, but it wasn’t with a barbecue gone wrong or a candle, or any of those things that could happen to any of us. They razed their environs to the ground by shooting at a target full of coloured explosive as a means of announcing the gender of their forthcoming baby. This is exactly the kind of thing – recklessness and pointlessness vying to define it – you would expect a gender-revealing parent-to-be to do.

In Australia, the main high-risk behaviour associated with the gender-reveal event is called the “burnout”, where you somehow – the technicalities escape me – send plumes of blue or pink smoke out of the back of your vehicle. Here in the UK, we have adapted to the new normal with cake: blue and pink iced muffins with swirling question marks, which all solidifies at some point into the answer, sometimes via a larger cake. Like the baby shower at which it typically occurs, this practice is deeply alien to the British; we have only adopted it because we heard there were baked goods involved.

‘You blew it’ … a still from a video of the Arizona gender-reveal party gone wrong. Photograph: HO/AFP/Getty Images

It’s a peculiar time in human history for this to flare up: in the wider culture, gender-essentialism – the pink-for-a-girl, blue-for-a-boy stuff – has slipped completely out of mode, recognised for what it is, a straitjacket. In fact, the whole idea of defining an individual by its sex has gone by the wayside, and with it any great excitement at finding out what that sex is. We’re reaching a point of non-compartmentalisation where you wouldn’t even ask whether it was a boy or a girl once it was out, let alone while it was still cooking. And this is the moment they choose, those Arizona explosive fans, those Canberra drag-car racers, those British cake-eaters, to go completely tonto about it. So you have to ask, is this a coincidence? Or have the forces of conservatism, in invidious but predictable collaboration with the forces of commerce, got together to stop the progressive rot? “You think you can evolve into a more complex, less binary, more fluid understanding of the human condition? Well, eat this, liberal! I’ve just set fire to all your grass! BECAUSE IT’S A BOY.”

In 2015, when I was pregnant with my first child, I had a gender reveal party. It wasn’t my idea — a friend in my book club wanted to try out a new baking trick: baking candy into cupcakes. At our next meeting, we broke into the cupcakes and saw that the candy was blue (it’s a boy!). Then we went back to not talking about the assigned book. All in all, it was a very sweet gesture and felt fairly harmless. There were no bowties or fishing rods, no grand pronouncements about my son’s future interests or identity.

For a long time, whenever someone would gripe about gender reveal parties, I would hold up my own as an example that they didn’t have to be a big deal. As I saw it, excess was the real problem — the flagrant stereotypes, the random sexualization of an unborn baby like it was some kind of bachelor party. If a party didn’t have those elements, I was fine with it.

Whenever someone would gripe about gender reveal parties, I would hold up my own as an example that they didn’t have to be a big deal.

Besides, my husband and I wanted children very much. We asked to learn the sex of our baby as soon as it was clear to our medical team. For me, learning that I was having a boy was when it really sunk in that I was having a baby. It didn’t feel so wrong to celebrate that.

But over the next two years, something shifted in our culture — and in my ability to go along with the idea of gender reveal parties. For one thing, people began to go overboard with their announcements. A guy in Louisiana wrestled a live alligator, who then chomped through a Jell-O-filled balloon to share the news. People in Australia are deliberately courting car fires in pursuit of colored smoke. Worst of all, one family started a forest fire that caused $8 million worth of damage.

From a biological perspective, it has become clearer that sex is determined by anatomy while gender is a more fluid concept — meaning that “gender” reveal party is a bit of a misnomer.

One of the best arguments for doing away with gender reveal parties is that they isolate and hurt people who don’t conform to traditional gender roles. I’ve known trans and genderqueer folks since college and have long been aware that some people fall outside of the gender binary, a concept that there are only two options — male or female — based on a person’s reproductive anatomy.

In 2017, I wrote an email to my friend Les, who identifies as non-binary and uses they/them pronouns. “There are some people who will make too big of a deal about anything,” I wrote. “These are the people who throw elaborate and hypersexualized gender reveal parties, just like they throw elaborate and hypersexualized bachelor/ette parties. For those people, the parties are the least of their problems in my view.”

Les, who transitioned in middle age and is an internationally known advocate for gender-free contra dancing, cautioned that there is a more sinister undertone to these events. “Gender reveals can also hurt,” they wrote back. “It isn’t just about what parents are imposing on their child, it’s the information that this conveys : the idea that genitals equals gender and that gender is a tiny box that everyone is supposed to fit in.” When they put it that way, I couldn’t argue.

That year, I was pregnant again. My book club didn’t offer to throw me another gender reveal party, probably out of apathy rather than politics, and I didn’t miss it. My two little kids are boys, but if they change their identities — multiple times, even — I’ll support them. One of the big lessons of parenting is loving the child you have, not the one you imagined.

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In the past decade, gender-reveal parties have exploded from a mere parenting trend to becoming the new normal. But now that more of the population is rejecting the idea of gender norms, a pink or blue-themed party feels archaic. One of the trend’s trailblazers is even having second thoughts about her role in perpetuating it.

When Jenna Karvunidis was pregnant with her first child in 2008, she blogged about revealing the baby’s gender to her friends and family with a pink cake. It was “a milestone,” she tells The Guardian. “I had had several miscarriages. It was like, ‘Oh yay, I’m finally at a point in my pregnancy where I know if it’s a boy or a girl’ rather than ‘Let’s saddle this kid with a whole identity,’” she said, adding that she doesn’t think most people were really questioning that way of thinking back then. Word of her party’s theme spread, and she began noticing more would-be parents throwing gender-reveal parties of their own.

By 2019, the trend seemsed to have reached its breaking point due to over-the-top, embarrassing, and even dangerous consequences that ranged from disgusting-looking food to a 47,000-acre forest fire. Karvunidis says she started to feel guilty. “Then I started to realize that nonbinary people and trans people were feeling affected by this, and I started to feel bad that I had released something bad into the world,” she said. Her daughter, who had been the motivation for her party 11 years ago, doesn’t conform to gender stereotypes herself, opting for suits and blazers rather than dresses. “I’m letting her lead me,” Karvunidis said. “She has her opinions about there being many genders and she is informing me about things. She was biologically born a female and she is still ‘she’ and ‘her’ and says she’s a girl, but she is still doing things her way.”

Still, Karvunidis says if people still want to throw these types of parties, she’s not trying to stop them, but adds that gender “isn’t the most important thing” about a person. “Let your kids just be who they are,” she said.

How to Host a Gender Reveal Party

Jeneil S/Getty Images

We waited until our first child was born to learn the sex, and when our doctor announced “It’s a boy!” just seconds after I gave birth, we were overcome with joy. When we found out that I was pregnant with our second child, however, we wanted to learn whether I was carrying a boy or a girl ahead of time to help us prepare our son for his new sibling. A gender reveal party, where we’d learn the sex of our baby at the same time that our guests would, seemed like a fun way to go.

We hosted the party halfway through my pregnancy. A bakery was told what sex our future child would be, and filled cupcakes with colored frosting to match: pink for a girl, blue for a boy. As I prepared to take a bite of the cupcake and learn (as well as reveal) the gender of our second baby, I was happy that my friends and family were there to experience the anticipation with me. It was such a joy to show off the pink frosting—it’s going to be a girl!

Read on for insider tips on planning your own gender reveal party.

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Create a Theme. For your baby reveal party, go simple with pink and blue cocktails, candles, plates, cups, napkins—you name it. (I even put pink and blue guest towels in the bathroom!) In lieu of the Super Bowl, have a Baby Gender Reveal Bowl. If you’re having a combined gender reveal baby shower, consider a “What will it bee?” theme with bumblebees as part of your party decor (think wall hangings, centerpiece, napkins, and favors).

Set the date and invite guests. Send your invitations out at least six weeks ahead of time, so you can get your gender-determining ultrasound, and even a 3-D ultrasound, and plan your big reveal. If you’d like to nail down those details first, you can wait and send your invites out two weeks ahead. For beautiful invitations that you can order or print out at home, try Etsy.com. If you’re on a tighter budget, send out electronic invites; we like Punchbowl.com, which offers customizable e-invitations. Some guests may not have heard of a gender reveal party, so be sure to include a brief explanation.

Schedule an ultrasound. It’s clear to a skilled ultrasound technician whether you’re having a boy or a girl at around 18 to 20 weeks’ gestation. Ask the sonographer to write “boy” or “girl” on a piece of paper and place it in a sealed envelope (instead of announcing the sex of the baby). If your baby is positioned in a way that makes it impossible for the technician to accurately determine the gender—with legs folded in front of the genitals, for example—ask about scheduling a follow-up ultrasound.

  • Related: Everything You Need to Know About an Ultrasound

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Plan the big reveal. A lot of couples choose to announce the sex of their baby with a sweet treat, such as a cake or a cupcake. To go this route, take the envelope that you received at your ultrasound to a bakery and order a cake that’s either blue or pink on the inside (depending on the results of your ultrasound), but with a neutral-color frosting on the outside, such as white (vanilla) or brown (chocolate). Sheet cakes and square cakes are best; you’ll need to cut off only the corner to announce your baby’s sex. If you’re expecting multiples, you could get a large sheet cake that is baked half and half, with clear delineation on the top for the cutting of the cake; otherwise, get two cakes for Baby A and Baby B. Cupcakes and cake pops make unique reveal alternatives to cake.

  • Related: Plan the perfect baby shower

For a gender reveal that doesn’t include dessert, ask a trusted friend to put pink or blue baby socks in a box. At the party, you’ll open the box and see what color socks are inside. Alternatively, have a balloon gender reveal where your friend would place a dozen pink or blue helium-filled balloons into a large cardboard box or trunk; at the party, you can open the box and everyone can see what color balloons float out. If you already have children, let them open the box so that they feel included.

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Document the event. Have your camera and/or video camera charged and ready to go. Ask a trusted friend or family member to be your photographer or videographer, since you’ll be busy mingling with your guests. If your budget allows, hire a professional photographer or videographer, or even a scrapbooker, to make a great post-event photo album (or video). Take Polaroid pictures of your guests and have them write special wishes for the new baby. Or ask each guest to leave a message on camera for your new arrival!

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Thank your guests. Have partygoers participate in some gender reveal party games. As guests arrive, ask them to write their name on a slip of paper and place it in a jar labeled “girl” or “boy.” Then, depending on your baby’s gender, pick out a name from the “correct guess” jar and give the winning guest a price, like a candle or scented soap. You could also have your guests’ names entered into a raffle and give away a fun prize, such as a gift card to a local restaurant.

  • By Charlene DeLoach

In 2008, Jenna Myers Karvunidis was pregnant and itching to throw a party. “Life is hard, but I like to have fun,” she explains. “I think it’s important to mark moments of joy.” Karvunidis (who loves celebrating so much that she baked a cake for her goldfish’s birthday) was determined to get her family “jazzed up” about her first baby. After the recent, much-anticipated birth of her nephew, her husband’s family were less excited about this next grandchild and, with her own family emotionally and physically distant, Karvunidis came up with the then-novel idea of a theatrical reveal of her baby’s sex.

During their 20-week ultrasound scan she asked her midwife to keep quiet about whether the baby was a boy or girl and, instead of telling the expectant couple in person, the bemused professional sealed a note containing the secret in an envelope. Karvunidis then baked two cakes in the shape of ducklings, filling one with pink icing and the other with blue – a discrete toothpick for differentiation.

Her family took some convincing to gather for a midweek party without apparent purpose, but as soon as the butter-cream duckling showed its contents – pink for a girl – everything changed. There were gasps, tears and someone shrieked: “I feel like she’s been born!” In that moment the cake and the party did all Karvunidis had hoped to bring her pregnancy to life.

The arrival of Bianca (the eldest of Karvunidis’s three daughters) was still months away, but that day she did unwittingly birth something: the gender-reveal party. Her blog about the event was picked up by a popular magazine found in the waiting rooms of midwives and obstetricians in the area. The story spread through midwest America and then far beyond, becoming a mainstream part of US pregnancies and taking an increasing share of the $200-$1,000 US couples spend on their baby showers.

The popularity of elaborate, emotive gender-reveal videos on social media may have helped spread the trend to the UK. John Lewis stocks a gender-reveal party balloon and online retailers offer products from confetti blasters to personalised sweets and scratch cards. Celebrities have also acted as inspiration. In an Instagram video last year, announcing her third pregnancy, Kate Hudson, her husband and sons simultaneously pop a number of balloons, spilling pink streamers and confetti on to the grass. The family jumps up and down hysterically, screaming with delight and hugging each other as a cloud of pink drifts skywards.

Karvunidis is far from happy about what she unleashed. In late July this year, responding to questions on Twitter about her role in the gender-reveal phenomenon, she confessed to “major mixed feelings” and posted a family photograph featuring Bianca, the world’s first gender-revealed baby, dressed in a suit. Striking a strong pose with her hands in her pockets, Bianca was sporting what conservative media outlets would describe as an “androgynous” haircut.

The story spread like wildfire: like the Arizona wildfire which last year destroyed 47,000 acres of forest, at a cost of $8m. Dennis Dickey, an off-duty border patrol agent, started the blaze with his gender-reveal stunt: shooting at a rectangular target marked “Boy or girl”, which exploded into blue smoke before setting grasslands alight. It’s not just the environmental recklessness of Dickey’s reveal, and the increasing popularity of expensive and dangerous stunts, that bothers Karvunidis. She’s also concerned about what she calls “aggressive energy” being so caught up with the sex of a foetus. “When you announce your son with a gunshot, or by wrestling an alligator, I think, how far are we going to take this?”

As a lifelong feminist, who has recently started law school, her unease about gender-reveals started soon after they began to take off – she felt the idea was becoming politicised by conservative forces. “I feel like the guy who invented gunpowder,” she half-jokes. Though Karvunidis accepts that the idea may have emerged, with or without her, from the cultural soup that surrounds pregnancy, she does feel some guilt. “I’m the one who put the form to it. I’m the one who said: ‘This is something we’re going to celebrate now, and this is how we’re going to do it’. I put it out there.”

Though Karvunidis’s instincts led her to reject the gender-reveal shortly after she created it, it was her daughters’ experiences of modern American girlhood that solidified her views. Karvunidis explains that she’s always tried to model to her children that there should be no limits on what women can do. “I’ve gone back to school, I started a business and I try to be that person – the boss – so that it’s totally normalised for them.”

But as Bianca has grown older she’s been busy giving her mother an education in gender politics. Karvunidis’s eldest is still just 10, uses she/her pronouns and considers herself a girl, but she’s firmly rejected the idea that girls should dress or act a certain way and questions preconceived ideas about what gender means – something her parents have fully supported her in. “Bianca tells me there are more than two genders and many sexualities. I hadn’t considered all this before.”

Thanks to Bianca, who Karvunidis calls a “bad-ass”, she is now concerned that the parties she helped make popular are hurting trans and non-binary communities, a position shared by the many activists who have supported her stance. “At least when the child is born you are getting all the information at once: the sex, the colour of their hair, who they look like, how long they are, what their heart rate is. With the gender-reveal you’ve isolated one aspect of this person. When it gets elevated as being central to your identity that’s problematic,” she asserts.

But Karvunidis’s worries about the extreme bent of the gender-reveal don’t stop there. Despite recent media focus falling on Bianca, it’s the world that her more “traditionally girly” daughters are experiencing that really makes their mother feel guilty.

When middle child Stella was three, Karvunidis bought her a set of Lego for Christmas. The toddler sobbed on seeing it, declaring it a “boy toy” because it was primary-coloured rather than pink. “Our nursery was painted blue and yellow,” reflects Karvunidis. “We didn’t hold gender-reveals for our younger kids, but this still happened.” She now believes the gender-reveal party has helped conservatives create increasingly restrictive pink and blue boxes for children, which support their anti-liberal agenda. “I know I played a role in it and it makes me sick.” Her worries don’t stop there. “I’m pro-choice,” she says. “What else am I going to be? I have three daughters.” In her eyes the gender-reveal has benefitted those trying to curb women’s autonomy. “In the US, our reproductive rights are being eroded down to nothing. You’ll have a six-day-old ball of cells eclipsing an adult human woman’s medical decisions. It’s not a football player or a ballet dancer, it’s a foetus, but the gender-reveal helps people forget that.”

Karvunidis worries that the increasing polarisation of girl- and boyhood is “a new extreme”. Professor Sarah Knott, author of Mother: An Unconventional History, says that sorting people into one sex or another was a rigid and crucial part of the fiercely patriarchal society from which we descend. But our contemporary take (complete with highly gendered toys and clothing for newborns) is, she believes, something new. For centuries, infants were dressed alike and wouldn’t have been differentiated by their clothing until later in childhood. “It seems that we are more focused on quickly establishing a person’s identity now than we were then,” Knott says.

Where the gender-reveal is heading, no one knows, but Knott reminds us that habits around pregnancy and birth can disappear as quickly as they appear. And UK consumers seem reluctant to follow their US counterparts wholeheartedly.

Still committed to being a bringer of fun, Karvunidis wants a more inclusive, tolerant and liberal world for her children – but not at the expense of joy and celebration. “I don’t want to shame people for having a party. I hope everyone has cake when they want it,” she laughs, “but let’s just eat it in socially appropriate ways.”

Rebecca Schiller’s Your No Guilt Pregnancy Plan is published by Penguin Life at £14.99. Buy it for £13.19 at guardianbookshop.com

Ready to plan a gender reveal party? They’re more popular today than ever before. However, many people have no idea where to start planning a gender reveal party.

Who should you invite? What should you do at the party? How do you reveal the baby’s gender? What kinds of activities should you play? Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about planning a gender reveal party.

Schedule an Ultrasound

In order to have a gender reveal party, you need to determine the biological gender of your baby.

How do you determine the gender of your baby while still keeping it a surprise?

Here’s how most parents do it: you schedule an ultrasound at around 20 weeks into the pregnancy. When the sonographer asks if you want to know the gender of the baby, you tell that person to write it down on a piece of paper and seal it inside an envelope.

Most skilled sonographers will be able to determine a baby’s gender at 20 weeks. However, it’s not always a sure thing: sometimes the baby’s legs are crossed in front of the genitals, for example. If that’s the case, then you may need to reschedule an ultrasound for a later date before determining the baby’s biological gender. For this reason, make sure you don’t plan your reveal party immediately after your ultrasound! It’s not a 100% certainty you’ll learn the baby’s gender at your first ultrasound.

Once this important step is out of the way, you can start planning the fun stuff.

“He or She” Jumbo Gender Reveal Balloon Party Pack

Create a Theme

Most gender reveal parties have a simple theme: pink and blue. Picture things like pink and blue cocktails, pink and blue plastic cups, pink and blue napkins, and pink and blue-themed party games. You can separate your party guests into pink and blue and have competitions between team pink and team blue.

All of this is pretty standard at a gender reveal party.

You can keep it simple and create a theme based around pink and blue. Or, you can be more creative. Creative ideas range from corny to slightly-less-corny. Some people have a “What Will It Bee?” theme, for example, where bees are incorporated into the party’s theme.

Other people have a Baby Gender Reveal Bowl – kind of like a Super Bowl. You can incorporate sports themes into the event.

Obviously, this is your party for your future child. Try to be unique. Plan something around the parents’ interests. Build a theme around something you love to do.

Alternatively, you can build a theme around the season. This one is popular especially if you’re late in the pregnancy. That way, the seasonal theme for your gender reveal party will be the same season in which your baby is born.

Set the Date

As with most important parties, try to send invitations out 4 to 6 weeks in advance. You can find plenty of great invitation ideas on Pinterest, Etsy, or Instagram. You can send out electronic invites as well – which is useful if there are only a small number of invites, or if you’re keeping it a close affair between friends.

Here’s one important thing to remember about sending invites: don’t assume guests know about gender reveal parties. They’re a new phenomenon, and many people have never heard of them – not to mention been to one. Your invitation should include a brief explanation of what a gender reveal party is.

Pick a Way to Reveal the Gender

Gender Reveal Party Pack Balloons and Confetti Pop!

Gender Reveal Powder Cannon Party Pack

The entire point of a gender reveal party is to work your way up to one big moment to reveal the gender. Here are some of the most popular ways to reveal the baby’s gender:

  • Bake a cake with a neutral colored frosting outside and pink/blue color inside (you can give the envelope to a local cakemaker or to a trusted friend, and they can make or pick up the correct cake)
  • Alternatively, cupcakes and cake pops are popular options; everyone can join in and see the baby’s gender as they bite in together
  • Have a friend put pink or blue helium balloons into a sealed box; open the box and let the balloons fly out to reveal the baby’s gender (if you want to be fancy, you can use a trunk or chest)
  • Have a friend put pink or blue baby socks in a box, then open the socks
  • Put traditionally male or female clothing, toys, or other items inside a box, then open the box to reveal the gender
  • Get a piñata and fill it with blue or pink items inside, based on the gender of the baby (this one is particularly popular if you already have kids, or if there are going to be lots of kids at the party)

Plan a Guessing Game for Guests

A good gender reveal party starts with asking guests to guess the gender of the baby. You might ask the guest when they walk in, then hand them a blue or pink drink based on their answer. Other parties have “voting booths” where you guess the gender of the baby. You could also setup a raffle where guests win something if they guess correctly.

Other parties turn gender reveal parties into a contest. You put a dollar bill or five dollar bill into a box when you guess the baby’s gender. You write your name on the back of your “voter’s ballot”. Then, after the gender is revealed, the hosts pick a name from the correct guesses, and that person wins the pot of money.

If you want to be extra creative (and extra demanding on your guests), then consider planning a “Wear your Guess” theme, where you ask guests to wear pink or blue depending on their best guess. People don’t have to go too overboard with this: you might ask them to wear a pink or blue tie, for example. Or, just hand someone a pink or blue bracelet or necklace when they walk into the party.

Pick Activities

A good gender reveal party has activities – including themed activities.

There are all sorts of ways you can take this. Some people – particularly younger people throwing a party – will play beer pong and similar party games with blue and pink-colored cups or blue and pink beverages, for example.

Other activities include:

  • Having people guess your favorite boy and girl names from a list, then giving a prize to the winner
  • Diaper changing games (on dolls or inanimate objects, obviously)
  • Old wives’ tale games. There are all sorts of stories about how to predict a baby’s gender without an ultrasound. There’s a legend that if you’re “carrying low”, you’re having a boy, and if you’re carrying high, then it’s a girl, for example. Another legend says that if your left breast is bigger during pregnancy, then it’s a boy. Pick a few of these, then add them up to see if there’s any truth to the old wives’ tales
  • Sonogram guessing; have guests look at your sonogram then guess whether it’s a boy or girl. Have them write their guesses on a piece of paper with their names, then read out the names of the people who were right.
  • Melt chocolate bars into diapers, then have guests guess what each chocolate bar is based on the smell (yeah, this one can be a little gross)

Pick a Food for your Party

Typically, gender reveal parties aren’t very long. People drop by, wait for the gender reveal, then leave. You don’t need to serve a meal.

Nevertheless, it’s never a bad idea to have snacks, appetizers, or desserts out for guests. Plan a few foods for your party. As always, pick foods or desserts that meet the blue/pink theme. Cupcakes with blue or pink filling are popular, for example.

Pick a Beverage for your Party

It’s easy to find blue cans of beer for your party (Labatt Blue is one popular option, as is Blue Moon or even Bud Light). Finding pink beverages might be a little more challenging – but you can make your own pink-themed cocktails, pink spritzers, rose wine, or anything else you want.

Building themed non-alcoholic beverages is also easy: cream soda is pink, for example. You can add blue food coloring to just about any beverage.

Be Prepared to Document the Event

Before the event starts, make sure you’ve setup a way to document the event.

If you’re feeling rich, you can hire a professional photographer or videographer for the event. Alternatively, assign one of your friends to take photos.

Or, be creative and grab a Polaroid. Have guests write well wishes for the baby on the back of the Polaroid shots as they come out of the camera.

At the very least, make sure your own camera or video camera is charged and ready before the party. You’ve put a lot of effort into planning the party – so make sure you have evidence it took place!

Thank your Guests

You can send guests home with goodie bags filled with themed treats or pink/blue-themed items. Or, you could just thank them as they leave – it depends on how generous you’re feeling.

In general, however, you should give your guests something for showing up – even if it’s just a bar of soap or a candle.

Ultimately, gender reveal parties don’t have to be extravagant affairs to plan. For some people, they’re close events between immediate family and friends. For others, they’re events that require months of planning. Follow the tips listed above to plan your own gender reveal party.

Throwing a Gender Reveal Party? See What We Carry Below!

  • Gender Reveal Smoke Cannons
  • Gender Reveal Confetti Cannons
  • Gender Reveal Balloons
  • Gender Reveal Smoke Bombs
  • Gender Reveal Burnout Tires

Gender reveal parties are a fun new trend. However, many people have no idea what to actually do at gender reveal parties.

Yes, we all know that you’re supposed to reveal the baby’s biological gender in some dramatic way. However, what do you do before and after? What kinds of activities should you plan? How should you keep your guests entertained? Find out today as we explore what to do at a gender reveal party.

There Are No Rules – Make Your Gender Reveal Party Your Own

The most important thing to remember about gender reveal parties is that there are no rules. Yes, you have to reveal the baby’s gender at some point. The rest of the party, however, is totally up to you. Gender reveal parties are a new phenomenon, and there are no set rules on what you have to do at your own party.

Remember: this is a gender reveal party for your future child. That child will be unique. You want the party to be unique, too. Don’t copy someone’s party you found on Instagram or Pinterest. Make your gender reveal party your own.

Now, with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the things people typically do at a gender reveal party.

How to Reveal the Gender of your Baby

Let’s start with the most important part of any gender reveal party: the part where you reveal the gender.

First, it’s important to remember that you don’t reveal the gender the moment the party starts. If your party starts at 1pm, you’re not going to reveal the gender at 1:15pm. You have to let tensions rise. You also have to make sure all the guests have arrived.

To reveal the gender, you have a few different options:

  • Fill a box with blue or pink-colored helium balloons
  • Pop a balloon filled with blue or pink confetti
  • Open a box with boy’s or girl’s clothes or shoes inside
  • Open an envelope to reveal the answer
  • Cut into a cake with blue or pink frosting
  • Have a friend or family member make an announcement
  • Hit a baseball or golf ball filled with powder

Gender reveals range from corny to creative, from boring to unforgettable. Put some time into your gender reveal. Think of your own interests as a couple, and try to make that a part of your gender reveal.

Before the Reveal: Gender Reveal Party Activities

Gender reveal parties are a great time to play games and activities. Most of these games will center around the idea of “team pink versus team blue”.

You can play the usual party games – like cornhole, beer pong, or other backyard games. You can have guests guess the baby’s gender, then give prizes for all the correct answers once the reveal is complete.

There are all sorts of gender reveal party activities you can plan. Some parties involve diaper-changing competitions using dolls, for example. Others involve using your nose to guess the piece of melted chocolate in a diaper.

Use Pink or Blue-themed Foods, Beverages, etc.

Gender reveal parties typically have pink or blue-themed foods and beverages. You can come up with themed cocktails. Or, just make bowls of fruit punch with blue or pink food coloring.

Cupcakes are a popular option at gender reveal parties. You don’t have to use the cupcakes to reveal your baby’s gender. You can use blue and pink frosting interchangeably. Leave a tray of cupcakes out for guests.

One popular option at a gender reveal party is to give guests a blue or pink plastic cup when they walk into the party. Ask for the guest’s guess at the door. Then, give them a blue or pink cup/beverage based on that answer.

What Should Guests Wear?

Typically, gender reveal parties don’t have a strict dress code.

However, some parties request guests “Dress their Guess” by wearing a blue or pink article of clothing. It doesn’t have to be anything too fancy – a blue tie for guys, or a pink dress for girls, for example, are both popular options.

Alternatively, some parties don’t give any dress code or special requests. But when guests walk in the door, they receive a pin, bracelet, or necklace colored with their guess (either pink or blue).

Plan the Party Around your Theme

Gender reveal parties often have a theme. Yes, there’s almost always a “blue or pink” theme. However, some parties also have a seasonal theme based on the time of year. If you’re having a baby around Easter, for example, then you may have an Easter egg theme. You might hand out Easter eggs, then everyone opens the Easter eggs to find a blue or pink toy inside.

Other themes center around the expectant parents and their interests. Whether it’s music, sports, traveling, or other hobbies, it’s easy to incorporate hobby-related themes into your party.

Silly String and Other Distractions

Silly string sales have jumped ever since gender reveal parties became popular. Some people use silly string as a way to reveal a baby’s gender. Other people use it to play up the “blue and pink” theme before the reveal. And some people just use it to celebrate a baby boy or girl after the reveal.

Stock up on silly string before the party and you’ll give guests – particularly younger guests – an easy way to stay entertained. This is a great option if you have younger relatives at the party, or if your friends are bringing their own kids.

If you don’t want to use silly string, then you can use party streamers, confetti, or similar options.

Water Gun Fight

Before or after the big reveal, you can have a play fight with water guns. Fill water guns with blue or pink paint (or just blue and pink-colored water), then have a party in the backyard. Separate guests into team blue or team pink, then get ready to have fun.

Take Lots of Photographs

Above all, one of the most important things to do at a gender reveal party is to take lots of photographs.

You’ve spent a lot of time planning the big reveal. You want to make sure there’s evidence of the special moment. Whether it’s your first baby or your fifth, a gender reveal party will always be a special moment.

At the very least, assign a friend to walk around the party taking photographs and videos. Or, if you feel like spending a bit of money, you can even hire a professional photographer for the event.

Remember: there are no hard and fast rules for what to do at a gender reveal party. Make your party your own. Plan activities you and your guests will enjoy.

  • Gender Reveal Smoke Cannons
  • Gender Reveal Confetti Cannons
  • Gender Reveal Balloons
  • Gender Reveal Smoke Bombs
  • Gender Reveal Burnout Tires

Are you thinking about hosting a gender reveal party? From fun gender reveal party ideas to what food to serve and even some great decoration ideas, we’re sharing our best gender reveal party tips with you – plus what to expect if you’re attending one.


Gender reveal parties are the latest way to reveal the gender of your baby to your friends and family (and even to yourselves).

Typically, the mom and dad-to-be invite friends and family to find out with them the sex of their unborn child. This usually involves their doctor writing the child’s gender on a piece of paper that is then handed off to someone who creates the “reveal surprise.” You can read more on “reveal surprise” ideas below.

At the party everyone finds out the gender of the baby together through a fun activity.


While there are a million ways to host a gender reveal party, usually you can expect to vote on whether you think the baby will be a boy or a girl.

At the Newman Family Gender Reveal Party, guests wrote their best guesses on a chalkboard.

You might be asked to wear pink or blue – depending on your guess. In our case, party guests were given blue or pink glow bracelets to represent Team Girl and Team Boy.

And, of course, the two teams had to “battle.”

At a designated time, everyone gets to find out the gender of the baby together, through the “reveal surprise” that was previously created. Some common “reveal surprise” ideas, or ways to reveal the baby’s sex, include:

  • Mom and dad-to-be open a large box filled with helium balloons. If the balloons are blue, it’s a boy. Pink? It’s a girl.
  • Mom and dad-to-be cut into a cake. If the inside is pink, it’s a girl. Blue? It’s a boy.
  • Mom and dad-to-be pop helium balloons. If blue confetti comes out, it’s a boy. Pink? It’s a girl.

You get the idea…

A Fun Way to Reveal Baby’s Gender

At the Newman Family Gender Reveal Party, we found outdoor lights in fun colors – including blue and pink. The Newmans gave us the note from their doctor, so we could program the lights in advance.

While waiting for it to get dark, there was lots of talk about whether it was going to be a boy or a girl.

This is their FIFTH baby, so their kids were excited to find out what they were having – and everyone had an opinion as to whether they wanted a new brother or a new sister.

The party continued as everyone waited for the big reveal.

Finally, it was time for the official lighting…


It’s a GIRL! Team Girl was very excited about this!


Usually, gifts are not necessary at a gender reveal party. Save your money for the upcoming baby shower, sprinkle or sip & see.


From Baby Showers to Sprinkles, Sip & See Showers and even Gender Reveal Parties, we’re helping you host and attend every baby party you can think of. Use the links below to learn more about how to host each type of party, a unique way to learn the gender of your baby, the perfect gifts for every event, and the one thing you really need at a Sip & See (besides a baby).

Gender Reveal Party

Baby Shower


Sip & See

Perhaps it’s time to admit that baby showers are becoming a thing of the past. A baby shower is a near relic of an event. Sure, we tried to press the envelope with the co-ed baby showers. Though, let’s face it, inviting guys to a function that was really designed for a single-sex function—it just doesn’t work well. So, what’s next? The gender reveal party.

This newest craze is actually a pretty simple idea: You host a party with everyone you want to invite, regardless of their gender, and celebrate together as you reveal the sex of your baby.

This can be a large function or an intimate gathering of just your closest friends and family. You can do it with dinner, or just snacks and cake. There aren’t really rules for this event. People just want to share their good news in a special and memorable way and they want to do it with the people that they care about. And food, there has got to be some form of food.

The Big Reveal

This is where the highlight of the party is found. You don’t want to start the party at 2:00 p.m. and make the announcement at 2:01 p.m. You’ve got to let the tensions rise and build; let the guests feed off of one another. Many people who held these parties had a tally being taken or a way to identify yourself as team boy or team girl.

Once this was done, it’s time to let everyone know if there is a girl or boy on the way. By far the most common way seems to be using food. This usually involves a cake. There’s usually a plain frosting or a multi-colored frosting on the outside and the inside revealed a color that indicated boy or girl. (Sometimes the parents don’t know either. They actually take a sealed note straight from the ultrasound to a bakery and pick up the cake—finding out just at the same time the guests do).

Other ideas can include:

  • Balloons filled with pink or blue confetti
  • A helium balloon bouquet in a box that rises when opened
  • Mom lifts a shirt to reveal a painted message
  • One dad dropped his drawers to revealed colored boxers
  • A bird’s egg with a hidden message inside
  • Open an envelope that reveals the answer
  • Having someone else make an announcement (perhaps with a poem)
  • More creative ways to reveal the sex of your baby

Obviously, some of these ideas take more time and effort to plan for a party. If this is something that excites you, you might be willing to use these ideas. A reveal that is more easily seen by the guests is usually the biggest hit with the crowd. Otherwise, you risk having pockets of people saying, “What did she say?”


Should you have gifts? If this is in place of your baby shower, what’s the harm in gifts? Though expect gender neutral baby gifts as no one will know beforehand what’s up. Perhaps this means that a diaper shower or a book shower is more your speed. While etiquette hasn’t written these rules yet, you’re free to test the waters yourself.

Party Favors

The idea of being able to pass out buttons, team banners or mini bows or mustaches as a way to show support for your “team” is very appealing to some. However, if you don’t want to pass out favors it’s totally not necessary, just a fun thing to add to the party atmosphere.