Gender-reveal parties are polarizing: to some, they uphold antiquated and harmful notions about gender. To others, they’re an opportunity to go absolutely hog wild on Pinterest. But regardless of everyone’s feelings on the matter, we can reach across the aisle and agree on one thing — they hold the potential to end in absolutely ridiculous, sometimes truly destructive disasters.
Here, we reflect back on some of the most memorable ones.
The 47,000 Acre Wildfire
In April 2017, Border Patrol agent Dennis Dickey just wanted to celebrate the imminent birth of his child the old-fashioned way: shooting a gun into a target that would explode in a cloud of either pink or blue smoke. Instead, he started an Arizona wildfire that spread to over 47,000 acres and caused $8 million in damage. He’ll be on probation for five years, has to pay $100,000 plus $500 a month for the next 20 years in restitution, and will appear in a PSA with the U.S. Forest Service. Smokey Bear says, “free yourself from the gender binary.”
The Illegal Explosion
Nebraska resident Jon Sterkel also attempted to shoot a target filled with chalk and an explosive substance (apparently the hottest trend on the gender-reveal party circuit) back in January 2017. The noise alarmed so many of his neighbors that the local Sheriff’s office received several calls as a result. He was ticketed for setting off an explosive without a state permit, which is a misdemeanor. Congrats to Sterkel on his baby boy, though.
The Fireworks of Terror
Shockingly, explosives are once again the culprit here. A Philadelphia couple set off pink fireworks, only to have them fall over and fire off at the party’s attendees, some of whom sustained minor burns. Video from the incident captured people alternately screaming in terror and yelling “it’s a girl!”
The Baseball Incidents
Less risky than utilizing highly explosive materials, but still brimming with the potential for failure and injury, are the multitude of baseball-themed gender-reveals. They involve throwing a breakable ball to a batter — usually the husband — who will ideally hit it and reveal the pink or blue powder inside. At best, they tend to miss and unceremoniously hit the ground. At worst, they nail someone right in the face.
Bonus: The One With the Alligator
This one wasn’t technically a disaster, but it’s so outrageous, and holds so much potential for grievous bodily harm and/or death that it deserves an honorary inclusion. T-Mike Kliebert (a.k.a. an alligator trainer known as the “The Gator King”) chose to participate in the tradition of gender-reveal parties by putting a small watermelon in a gator’s mouth, and then waiting for it to explode in blue goop. How did they get the blue stuff into the watermelon? Wouldn’t a cake have been easier? What are the gator’s thoughts on gender, as a concept? I will never stop thinking about this.