Unsplash/Josh Kahen

In the days before 18-week ultrasounds and non-invasive prenatal testing, the baby’s gender was anyone’s guess until labor and delivery. Nowadays, not only can you find out if your child will be a boy or girl, you can have lots of fun with the “gender reveal.” Have some people gone overboard with their gender reveal party ideas? Kind of. Who could forget the Louisiana man who used a live alligator as part of the suspenseful announcement? Or the couple that accidentally shot fireworks into the crowd at their party? But even with those mishaps, the idea is fun and can even be super-inexpensive if you like. So many aspects of being pregnant are stress-filled and physically difficult. Why not celebrate whenever possible? Here are five fun and unique gender reveal ideas to get you started:

Take the “buns” out of the oven

It’s a folksy expression to be sure, but if you go around saying you have a “bun in the oven,” you can play off that for a baby reveal idea. Before everyone arrives, bake a pan of vanilla cupcakes and tint the batter with the appropriate color. Make the frosting a neutral color. Set the oven timer to go off a few minutes after you expect most of the guests to be there. When it starts sounding, ostentatiously put on an apron and head for the kitchen, asking your guests to follow. Then take the tray of “buns” out of the oven. With the first bite, everyone will know. If you’re not sure you can pull off such carefully timed announcement, a cake that reveals the gender when you cut it is another great gender reveal party idea. Mostly, people like a tasty indicator of this important news, so you can’t go wrong with cake, frosting, and food color.

Pop a bubble before you pop

If a party’s not your thing, you can still get creative with baby reveal ideas on social media. One of the simplest and most fun is relaying the news via a bubble gum bubble. Have a phone on hand for the selfie, buy blue or pink bubble gum and then chew and blow. If you can get the bubble to cover most of your face, that’s when you take a snapshot and post it. If you have a lot of Facebook, Twitter or Instagram friends, send it out first with no explanation. If no one gets your point, then you can follow up with increasingly obvious clues, like, “Wonder if I’ll want to chew gum like this during the delivery?”

Recreate the Science Fair

If you’ve got a little time to spare, wow your guests with a paper mâché volcano. It will be just like the one you made for the science fair back in the day. Only for this one, you’ll include “lava” dyed to the color that will reveal the baby-to-be’s gender. Start by sculpting a volcano shape from paper mâché or clay, which you can purchase online or at a craft supply store. Leave room in the center for a small juice glass or clean yogurt container. Ahead of the gathering, put several drops of the correct color of food coloring into the container and stir in two tablespoons baking soda and a tablespoon of plain dishwashing soap, like Ivory (not blue, like Dawn, unless it’s a boy!) When your guests are assembled and you’re ready to make the announcement, splash two tablespoons of white or cider vinegar into the center of the volcano. The color that bubbles up will tell everyone what they came to find out.

Wear to share the news

Here’s a good way to do a fun gender reveal and get the older sibling-to-be in on the action. Make up a t-shirt your child can wear to the gender reveal party or in a social media shot. These can be subtle, i.e., “My new sister better like chocolate” or “I won’t be our family’s only boy after Nov. 3.” Or go for the obvious so everyone catches on, with a message like, “Hey guys, I’m getting a baby brother!” These shirts are fun to keep as a memento of your young family days, too, or to upcycle as baby quilts.

Keep it a secret from mom, too

One of the best gender reveal party ideas is a gathering where the mom-to-be herself doesn’t know the gender yet! This relies on some pretty intense planning skills but can be very fun. Basically, mom’s partner or her parent finds out the news and the mother-to-be agrees to be kept in the dark until the gathering. Then the partner takes care of making one of the other gender reveal ideas happen and mom is as surprised as anyone. Or it can be even more simple, with the partner simply writing the gender reveal on a piece of paper and sealing it in an envelope ready to open during the gathering.

No matter what way you choose for sharing the fun of knowing your baby-to-be’s gender, you’ll also want to take these extra steps. First, make sure you’re being environmentally safe and follow other safety practices, particularly if you’re trying to use helium balloons or sparklers or other fireworks. Second, be sensitive. If there’s someone who especially would want to know the news ahead of a social media post or a big party they can’t attend (like grandma), tell them ahead of time. And if you host a gathering to share the news, it’s crucial that you provide plenty of tissue. That way, you and all the guests can all wipe away those happy tears.