Gender Reveal Fireworks
A guide to celebrating with blue or pink fireworks.
Welcome to this beginner’s guide to gender reveal fireworks. Almost unheard of a few years ago, gender reveal fireworks and displays are becoming increasingly popular in the UK. A growing number of firework brands even produce barrages specifically aimed at this type of event.
Table of contents:
What is a gender reveal firework?
In a nutshell it’s a firework that has either blue or pink effects. They tend to fall into one of two categories:
- Fireworks that are not specifically marketed for gender reveals but have mostly blue or pink effects.
- Fireworks that are aimed at the gender reveal market with suitably appropriate labelling declaring “It’s a boy!”, “It’s a girl!” or similar.
Both approaches are perfectly fine since it’s the colour of the effect that’s important, not the label. So if your local firework shop doesn’t have fireworks specifically aimed at a gender reveal but are still blue or pink, they will work just as well. Remember that blue and pink fireworks have been around for a lot longer than the concept of gender reveal parties.
That said, at the time of updating this article (mid-2022), I am seeing more and more firework brands bringing in gender reveal labelled fireworks as this becomes an increasingly popular celebration. The photo above, taken on a visit to Chorlton Fireworks in Manchester, shows a typical barrage (the smaller item at the front) plus much bigger complete displays-in-a-box behind.
Most gender reveal fireworks are barrages as pictured above, 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 for smaller units, up to a minute plus for the much bigger ones. You can of course let off several fireworks one after the other to increase your display duration.
Which gender reveal fireworks to pick for your display
Many people buying gender reveal fireworks are complete newbies to fireworks so I’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.
How much do gender reveal fireworks cost?
Expect to pay from £15 or so for a nice candle bundle and from £30-£40 upwards for a good barrage, with expectations of 30-40 seconds duration.
You can 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.
The much bigger barrages such as the Next Generation gender reveal fireworks pictured above will cost you around £150 to £200. Bear in mind though these are complete “displays in a box” and intended to make setting up as simple as possible and give a nice show from one light. Although these are a considered purchase they are often a far better approach than buying multiple smaller fireworks if you are a pyro novice!
Please note that larger fireworks in general – often called “compound cakes” as they contain multiple cakes connected inside (you only light one fuse though) – although giving a long and spectacular show, are not suitable for gender reveal displays on their own as they are not pink or blue themed. If you want to use one of these bigger fireworks, start your display with a blue or pink firework to announce the gender first.
Want to keep it smaller or low key? Coloured flares are available in pink or blue. These can be situated on the ground or some are designed to be hand held (never hold a firework unless it’s clearly designed for this – check the label). These usually cost under £10 each. More on this further down the page.
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 my 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. I recommend doing this anyway since a gender-specific colour is a specialist item.
What if I want the gender colour 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 may charge a small 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.
A small number of gender reveal fireworks currently on the market take a much neater approach to this, such as the Hallmark cake pictured above. This has a small blue or pink dot on the instruction label which is very easy to cover over.
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. I know several that do – but don’t want to speak for the whole fireworks trade.
Other things you'll need for a gender reveal fireworks display
Again, briefly and aimed at newbies who do not necessarily want to spend days reading the whole of my website, you should should also consider:
Wooden stakes: You bang these into the ground and gaffa tape the fireworks (barrages and candles) 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 if the instructions on the firework tell you to do so.
Gaffa tape and a lump or sledgehammer: For the above. See my Setting Fireworks Up section for more help.
Something to light the fireworks with: Yep, I’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 my Coping With Bad Weather section for guidance. It’s easy to waterproof fireworks with clingfilm or plastic bags.
Other fireworks to consider for gender reveals
I recommend your focus with gender reveal fireworks is barrages and candles as explained above. However there are a few other things you can consider:
Blue or pink flares: These are small fountains that emit a coloured flame and sometimes a final burst of sparks. This is a good approach if you want to keep it low key, low noise or you’re on a budget. Some are designed to be hand held too – check the label first.
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. Large compound cakes offer the most impact and duration with minimal setting up.
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 – known as ice fountains – are available, as shown in the photo below!
Low noise gender reveal fireworks
You don’t need to make a lot of noise with your gender reveal fireworks and in fact should consider keeping the noise down if you’re in a built-up area and firing away from firework periods such as Bonfire Night or New Year’s Eve. There are so many great pink or blue roman candles that simply eject coloured stars into the air without banging and look pretty.
I am often asked about silent gender reveal fireworks. Completely silent fireworks do not exist as you need a small explosion to launch each effect into the air. However, low noise fireworks don’t bang when the effect is in the air. Although in your garden the “phut phut phut” sound of each effect launching will be clearly audible, it’s not a sound that will carry far.
Be advised that more general fireworks such as mixed-effect cakes or barrages can make a substantial amount of noise unless you buy fireworks specifically labelled “low noise”.
Don’t feel embarrassed asking your local fireworks retailer for quiet gender reveal fireworks; they’re the most popular type and I’d rather you enjoyed a pretty display than annoy your neighbours.
Daytime gender reveal fireworks
Celebrating a gender reveal in the daytime is a little harder to do. Consumer demand for daylight-specific fireworks is quite low and there are not many options on the market. Please be aware that letting off normal fireworks in the daytime can be a waste of money as many of the effects simply won’t be seen. Imagine firing blue stars up against the blue sky for example.
Instead, you should look for specialist daytime fireworks which are blue or pinked themed by way of smoke or streamer effects. I spotted some of these on a recent visit to Chorlton Fireworks in Manchester (MLE branded “Pink Angels” and “Blue Angels”) which were £30 each and fired multiple streaming smoke trails in the air before ending with a volley of crackles. So they are out there if you shop around.
Another daytime option is to use confetti cannons which, although not a firework, work well.
Options for gender reveal fireworks in smaller gardens
UK fireworks designed for outdoor use mostly come in two classes: F2 with safety distances of 8m upwards, or bigger F3 fireworks with safety distances of 25m. These are minimum distances to spectators.
If you do not have 8m to play with please do not use F2 or F3 fireworks. It’s simply too risky.
Options here include:
- Using gender-themed confetti cannons and having your party in the daytime.
- Sticking to sparklers or indoor ice fountains (mounted on cakes or bottles).
- Using handheld coloured flares. These are surprisingly pretty and available in pink or blue. Some, such as Trafalgar Fireworks’ superb “Coloured Flares” have around 30 seconds of coloured flame to announce the gender followed by a large and pretty gold spark effect; these are designed to be handheld but you don’t have to.
- Using coloured smokes: Pink and blue smoke effects are now widely available. However only use these in the daytime and make sure you get any washing in, as the dyes can stain.
Gender reveal fireworks FAQ
A gender reveal firework is simply a firework with a mostly blue or pink effect.
The most popular is a blue or pink cake or roman candle, which is secured on the ground and fires pink or blue effects high into the air.
Yes. In England, Scotland and Wales it is legal to buy and use fireworks on any day of the year. But you must let them off by 11pm. Warn your neighbours or stick to quiet fireworks.
Yes. Look for low noise gender reveal cakes or roman candles. They won't be completely silent, but they won't bang.
For indoors, use pink or blue (or gender themed) ice fountains on cakes and bottles. You can also use gender themed confetti cannons. Never use outdoor fireworks inside though!
Yes. Pink and blue specific fireworks have been available for many years before gender reveal parties became popular in the UK.
Most good all-year fireworks stockists in the UK will have suitable fireworks even if they are not labelled as gender reveal but are pink or blue in colour. If in doubt, ask the retailer for help.
A low noise roman candle with blue or pink stars will usually cost between £20 and £30. Higher performance (louder) barrages will usually cost from £30 upwards. Sparklers and indoor ice fountains should only cost a few pounds each.
Yes, though it's complicated as fireworks cannot be sent through the post. Many firework shops offer delivery but with a minimum order charge. Thus it can be an expensive way of buying gender reveal fireworks. It's best to buy in person at a local fireworks shop and avoid delivery costs.
Fireworks are classed as explosives and subject to strict storage, handling and delivery rules. They are thus a specialised product only available all year from licensed firework shops.
Because there are a finite number of all-pink or all-blue fireworks - and to avoid repetition - for bigger displays I suggest starting with an all blue or pink section to announce the gender, then move on to more general fireworks. Large barrages and compound cakes offer substantially impressive effects with minimal setting up.
Yes and no. Yes - professional gender reveal display services are available but budget from up to £1000 as a starting price and you will need a suitably large area. No - professionals don't offer a "fire your own purchased fireworks" service due to insurance and liability reasons. So it's one or the other: Self-fire your purchased fireworks or have a complete professional show.
No. In the UK the public are allowed to buy, set up and let off fireworks - including gender reveal fireworks - without training, insurance or a license. But you must let them off in your own garden and by 11pm. Read the firework's instructions carefully.
You should never let fireworks off in a public place. It's against the law in the UK and could be potentially dangerous to other members of the public. Let them off in your own garden; low noise and smaller fireworks are available if you need them.
Use coloured flares or coloured smoke effects. Normal nighttime fireworks won't look very good in daylight.
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.