Choosing Fireworks: Gender Reveal Displays

Celebrating with blue or pink fireworks.

Almost unheard of a few years ago, gender reveal firework displays are becoming increasingly popular in the UK. A growing number of firework brands even produce barrages specifically aimed at this type of event.

What is a gender reveal firework?

In a nutshell it’s a firework that’s either an all blue or all pink effect. It really isn’t anything more complicated than that; fireworks branded specifically as gender reveal fireworks – along the lines of “It’s a boy” or “It’s a girl” are simply blue or pink fireworks with consumer-friendly names and packaging to appeal to this growing market.

Most gender reveal fireworks are barrages or roman candle bundles. Both are set up on the ground and fire their shots into the air for an aerial effect. Durations are typically 30 seconds or upwards.

Pink and blue gender reveal fireworks
An example of two cakes suitable for gender reveals, with all pink and all blue effects.

Which ones to pick for your display

Many people buying gender reveal fireworks are complete newbies to fireworks so we’ll run through some important considerations when buying these. This information (and pretty much everything else you’ll need to know) is expanded upon extensively throughout the rest of this website so do take the time to have a browse through the guides here.

First, you’ll need to make sure your garden is big enough. Barrages and candle bundles will have safety distances ranging from 8m up to 25m. That’s the distance to spectators, not structures or buildings. If you have 25m or more space then any consumer firework on sale will be fine. If you have less than 25m then only pick ones you have room for.

Then, you need to think about whether you want to make a noise or to keep things quiet. Roman candle bundles are brilliant for low noise gender reveals since they often eject just coloured stars. This will reveal the gender in a very pretty way without annoying the neighbours, an important consideration if your party is away from Bonfire Night when people won’t expect fireworks or you live in a built up area.

If you’re able to make a noise then some of the bigger barrages will create both colour and plenty of sound! Use the video clips on firework retailers’ websites to check out the effects and noise of each item, or pop into your local shop for a chat.

When browsing video clips of gender reveal fireworks don’t worry too much if the blues or pinks look a bit washed out. These two colours happen to be incredibly difficult to capture on camera very well. Blues often look faded and pinks can look red or purple. In real life they’ll look fine.

Expect to pay from £15 or so for a nice candle bundle and from £20 upwards for a good barrage. You can of course let off multiple items (candles in particular work well in a V formation to spread the effect out) or start with some quiet candles then finish with a loud barrage. Note that if you are buying mail order fireworks a minimum charge usually applies because fireworks have to be sent by an explosives courier.

A reminder that it’s perfectly legal to buy and use fireworks any time of the year, but you must let them off by 11pm. You can read all about the applicable laws in our Firework Laws & Regulations article. However away from the seasonal firework selling periods you will need to source your fireworks from a licensed all-year fireworks shop. We recommend doing this anyway since a gender-specific colour is a specialist item. 

Why are some girl reveal fireworks purple and not pink?

Quite a few “pink” effects on sale are actually labelled as purple. In reality, fireworks containing pink or purple effects are pretty much interchangeable and look similar.

What if I want it to be a surprise?

Most fireworks are so clearly labelled with their effect that your friends, family or audience are likely to see whether the firework is pink or blue as you’re setting it up or before you fire it. It’s a common request then for some way to keep it a surprise until it’s fired. Fortunately this is very easy to do.

First, speak to your fireworks retailer because many are more than happy to wrap the firework for you and obscure the effects label. Some will charge a fee for this.

If they can’t or won’t do this (or you’re buying mail order without speaking in person to the retailer) then it’s also easy to do at home. You can either wrap it in paper – don’t cover the fuse, the top or the instructions label – or just use parcel tape or gaffa tape over the offending parts of the label.

Many couples want the gender to be a surprise even to themselves when the firework goes off. This is possible if you’re able to pop into a specialist fireworks shop in person. To do this, take the written slip from the hospital that states the gender in an envelope and give it your fireworks retailer asking them to wrap the firework for you and not tell you what it says! Note: Best to phone your local shop to check they’re willing to do this. We know several that do but don’t want to speak for the whole fireworks trade.

Other things you'll need

Again, briefly and aimed at newbies who do not necessarily want to spend days reading the whole of our website, you should should also consider:

Wooden stakes: You bang these into the ground and gaffa tape the fireworks to them to ensure they can’t fall over. Any wooden stake with a pointed end is fine. Never, ever, let off fireworks without securing them first.

Gaffa tape and a lump or sledgehammer: For the above. See our Setting Fireworks Up section for more help.

Something to light the fireworks with: Yep, we’ve heard of gender reveals that were, ahem, delayed while a source of ignition was found. When buying your fireworks, remember to buy either some lighting sticks known as portfires, or a gas powered lighter. However anything with a strong flame, like a blowtorch, is also fine. See the Letting Off Fireworks section for more help.

If rain is likely then see our Coping With Bad Weather section for guidance.

Other fireworks to consider

We recommend your focus with gender reveal fireworks is barrages and candles as explained above. However there are a few other things you can consider if you’re perhaps a little more experienced with fireworks:

Blue or pink ground flares: These are small fountains that emit a coloured flame. Not the most spectacular of fireworks however you could light several in a line and then fire your barrage or candle over the top.

Rockets: Blue or pink effects are available, though you might need to do a little shopping around.

Other barrages: If you want to extend your display a little then a good way to do this easily is to buy a general barrage and fire this last, as your finale. So you start with your pink or blue section and then end with a general barrage.

Indoor items: Of course you are not limited to just outdoor pyro fun. Indoor sparklers and cake fountains are great fun if you want something a little sparkly inside. Cake fountains designed just for this purpose are available, as shown in the photo below!

Gender reveal cake fountains
Gender-themed fountains for cakes.

Further information

The other Choosing Fireworks sections might also be of help in case your display also falls within the scope of those too.

If you’re a complete beginner and some of the terms used in this page are unclear then head over to the Beginners Start Here! page for a run-through of both fireworks and the extensive guides on my website.

The next step after narrowing down your choice of fireworks is buying them, arguably the most fun part! The Buying Fireworks sections will help you.

Then, it’s time to set up your pyro before firing it. The Setting Up Fireworks and Firing Your Display sections will guide you further.

Finally, if you have any questions or want to chat about fireworks with like-minded people, head over to my Fireworks Forum, the UK’s best online community for fireworks chat. I’d love to hear from you and answer any queries you might have.