Everything you need to know about gender reveal parties, how they started, and how they got out of hand

Everything you need to know about gender reveal parties, how they started, and how they got out of hand
Gender reveal cake. File photo.Getty/Jeneil S
  • Official gender reveal parties were coined in 2008 by blogger and mom Jenna Karvunidis.
  • Gender reveal parties use cake, piñtas, or, in some cases, fireworks to announce if a baby is a boy or a girl using blue or pink.
  • In recent years gender reveal parties have been criticized for being transphobic by putting an unnecessary emphasis on sex assigned at birth.
  • A few of them have even started devastating wildfires, prompting even Karvunidis to beg people to stop.

The gender reveal trend for babies has been around for over 12 years now and has had a mixed reception.

Blogger and mom Jenna Karvunidis started the trend in 2008 to have fun announcing the birth of her daughter with a cake with pink icing on the inside.

The surprise of finding out what the gender of the baby is assigned is what makes the fun drama of gender reveals.

But dozens of pink and blue cupcakes, hundreds of popped confetti-filled balloons, and even an alligator biting into a watermelon later to reveal blue jelly later, and the trend is quickly falling out of favor.

Here's what gender reveal parties are and what the trend has come to be.


Gender reveals were meant to show if your child is assigned "boy" or "girl" at birth with a cake, confetti, or fireworks

Gender reveals use different creative ways to surprise friends, family, and sometimes even the parents themselves with the assigned sex of their unborn child.

Oftentimes, doctors will give parents the assigned sex of their child in a sealed envelope that they can then give to a cake maker, balloon designer, or whoever is handling the logistics of their reveal to ensure it's filly a surprise.

Some couples opt for the classic cutting into cake to reveal pink or blue icing, respectively symbolic of "boy" and "girl." others opt for the confetti route, using piñatas and balloons filled with pink or blue confetti.

Some have started wildfires or accidentally killed family members in the process

As gender reveals have gotten more extravagant, they've also gotten more dangerous.

In 2017, a gender reveal firework display gone wrong ended up causing a fire that burned over 40,000 acres in Arizona.


A grandmother was killed by debris during an Iowan gender reveal in 2019 after a confetti canister malfunctioned and turned into a pipebomb.

The most recent gender reveal gone wrong resulted in a raging wildfire that has been raging for four days in the San Bernadino Valley, California, and has already consumed over 10,000 acres of land.

"Stop it," Karvunidis herself wrote on Facebook in response to the fire. "Stop having these stupid parties. For the love of God, stop burning things down to tell everyone about your kid's penis."

Gender reveal parties have fallen out of favor because of the emphasis it puts on biological sex rather than gender identity

People have critiqued gender reveals for not only being dangerous but also being harmful to trans youth.

Because biological sex has nothing to do with what someone's gender identity will be down the line, gender reveals only serve to perpetuate gendered stereotypes about femininity and masculinity and could make trans kids coming out down the line even more uncomfortable.


"Who cares what gender the baby is?" Karvunidis wrote in a 2019 Facebook post. "I did at the time because we didn't live in 2019 and didn't know what we know now — that assigning focus on gender at birth leaves out so much of their potential and talents that have nothing to do with what's between their legs."

Read More:

The woman who invented gender-reveal parties is calling for them to stop after one started a fire and burned down 10,000 acres of land in California

An Iowa woman died after she was injured by an explosion at a gender-reveal party

The woman who 'invented' gender reveal parties doesn't think gender should be assigned at birth