Valerie L. Sizelove
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Freelance writer, mom of four.

In the age of social media, nothing is off-limits, including your soon-to-be-born baby’s genitalia. That’s right, not only are parents today throwing baby showers, but also gender-reveal parties to make a big event out of revealing whether moms are carrying male or female fetuses. What’s the whole deal with gender reveal parties, and should you throw one? If you decide to have a gender reveal party, we’ve lined up some fun party ideas for the big event.

How do gender reveals work?

Because science has gotten to the point where identifying a baby’s sex is much more precise, parents are becoming more and more comfortable accepting that their baby is a certain sex based on scientific tests. To add excitement to finding out the gender, many parents opt for a gender reveal parties, where the parents are surprised with the results of their baby’s sex.

Generally, parents tell the doctor they don’t want to know the gender, but ask the information to be passed to a trusted individual who will help coordinate the party. Otherwise, parents opt to know the gender in secret, letting everyone else find out at the party. Then, during the party, the baby’s gender is revealed symbolically.

The most common way is to have a cake that is neutral on the outside, but contains the color blue or pink inside to signify that the baby is a boy or girl when it’s cut. Some couples bring balloons contained in boxes, releasing them to reveal the color and gender. There are all kinds of variations, and the more creative you are, the more attention you’ll get on social media.

There’s a problem with gender reveal parties, though. Sex does not equal gender. Because a fetus’s body shows that it has male or female genitalia, it doesn’t mean that the child will identify as that gender. There is no way to tell a child’s gender by using science. That’s a decision they must make on their own.

Proponents of gender identity dislike the idea of gender reveal parties, because so much emphasis is placed on a child’s gender before that child has even entered the world. “Gender reveal” is a misnomer—these parties should more accurately be called “sex reveal parties.”

11 ideas for gender reveal parties if you choose to host one.

If you decide to get onboard with the gender reveal party trend, your options are limitless. Pretty much any way that you can reveal the color pink or blue in a surprising, fun way is game. 

Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Cake 

($10-$50)

Probably the most popular and traditional option, using a cake to reveal your baby’s gender is an easy and fun way to break the news. Bakeries are becoming used to requests from parents who want cakes with neutral colors on the outside, sometimes question marks or something to build suspense, and then a pink or blue inner cake color. Other varieties include colorful candies baked right into the cake that spill out upon it being cut. You could also fill a cake with blue or pink cream.

2. Confetti and smoke bombs

($5-$10)

What more fun of a way is there to bring your baby’s gender in with a bang than by releasing an explosion of confetti, glitter or colorful smoke in baby pink or blue. There are lots of options, and some include firework-like explosions to create a dramatic “boom” that will make everyone cheer.

3. Balloons

($2-$10)

There are a few ways you can use balloons to announce the gender of your baby, and this is one of the cheapest methods to use. Some soon-to-be parents hide a few balloons of the gender color within a giant box and then, open the box and release the colorful balloons for all to see. You might also fill balloons with fun colorful confetti, glitter or powder that will disperse when you pop them.

4. Theme

($20-$50)

Give the overall party a gender reveal theme by decorating with black and white question marks, creating gender guessing games or choosing a cute theme to represent genders. Pinterest is your friend. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • “Beau or Bow?”
  • “Waddle it be?” (Duckling-themed)
  • “Team Blue vs. Team Pink”
  • “Stashes (mustaches) or Lashes”
  • “Ties or Tutus?”
  • “What Will it Bee?” (Bee theme)

5. Gender guessing games

(Free)

This is a fun option to keep your guests entertained and allow them to participate in the fun. Have everyone fill out a sheet with their guess of gender and their name. Count responses and let everyone know what the guests’ prediction is for the odds of gender. When it’s time for the big reveal, you can award guests who guessed right with party favors. (Of course, the ones who guessed wrong can have favors, too.)

6. Piñata

($25-$40)

There are lots of options out there, from question mark shaped piñatas colored in pink and blue to ones shaped like onesies and strollers. Guests can take turns whacking the piñata until it explodes blue or pink-colored candy or confetti. It’s a fun way to keep guests engaged and have an element of surprise.

7. “Wear your guess” clothespins

($5)

A cute way to welcome guests to your party is to create cute little clothespins painted in pink or blue. Each guest can select a clothespin as they enter the party, based on their gender guess, and wear that clothespin. It’ll be fun to see everyone battle it out as the big moment approaches.

8. Silly string

($1-$2)

An easy, cheap way to get a photo-op is to use silly string. Mom can blast Dad (or Mom) with silly string in the color of the baby’s sex, which makes for a great photo-op. Or, let guests all spray silly string you give them at the time of the big reveal for a big, messy, fun bonanza. Silly string is super cheap — you can find it at the dollar store. Use some pretty wrapping paper to wrap the cans and keep the gender hidden until it’s time for the big fun.

9. Paint

($5-$10)

For another messy but fun gender reveal, open a can of paint. Decorate a paint can full of pink or blue paint, and when you’re ready to reveal baby’s gender, get creative. You can fill balloons with paint and let guests pop them on a canvas. The mother could open the paint and throw it on the father for a great photo-op (and payback). Paint allows you to have fun, get messy and create some beautifully colorful photos.

10. Gender reveal gifts

(Free for parents)

Perhaps, if everyone can keep a secret, the couple can be last to know baby’s gender. Let a trusted person learn the gender of the baby from your doctor’s office and have them tell guests the gender (instructing them to keep it a secret!). Guests will be instructed to buy a simple gift (perhaps nursery art?) that reveals your baby’s gender. Then, when it’s time to open gifts, the parents can finally get in on the big secret.

11. Hair color

($60-$100)

If mom is the type for a fun new hairstyle, consider treating her to a day at the salon. Tell the hairstylist whether to color mom’s hair blue or pink, but to keep it a surprise. For a low-key look, dye just the hair that’s hidden underneath. Then, at the party, mom can flip her hair over to show everyone the baby’s gender. How fun for a pregnant mom to carry around this cute look during the end of her pregnancy. And yes, women can color their hair safely during pregnancy.

When should you have a gender reveal party?

You can’t have a gender reveal party until you find out the sex of your baby. This usually happens with an ultrasound sometime around the 20th week of pregnancy. It’s very rare today that ultrasound technicians and doctors can’t tell the sex of a baby, so planning ahead is usually fine. Feel free to get started on planning before you know, and once the sex is identified, your purchase can be made.

Do you bring gifts to a gender reveal party?

It’s up to the expectant parents and the guests. If you wouldn’t like gifts, make sure to specify that on the invitation. Maybe you’ll ask for diapers and wipes or other items that are less “gifty” and more useful. Generally, gifts aren’t big because guests don’t yet know the gender, and that’s what the shower is for anyway. One way to flip the surprise gender reveal is for guests to bring gender-themed gifts that will reveal baby’s sex to the parents when they’re opened.

The big moment

This can be such a fun moment, so be sure to make it exciting. There’s something for everyone, whether you don’t like to be in the spotlight or you’re an attention queen. You can simply upload nifty gender reveal photos to social media or throw an entire shebang in celebration of the big moment. Perhaps friends at work would love to throw you a gender reveal party at work, or you’d like to have a simple gathering in your living room. Whatever you choose, remember that not everyone is receptive to the idea of gender reveal parties, so be understanding to those who decline to participate.

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