Christopher Pekny was a 28 year old with a child on the way. Like many parents-to-be today, he was hard at work with his younger brother building a device for his gender reveal party. Unfortunately, tragedy struck, and the device exploded. The 28-year-old died during the explosion. His younger brother has since recovered in the hospital.
The New York State Police Department spoke to newspapers. While they haven’t revealed what the gender reveal device was or how it went wrong, they told the New York Times that it consisted of some kind of pipe. Christopher Pekny’s older brother has called the event “the freakiest of freak accidents.”
The surviving brother did an interview with The Washington Post. He described his brother as a good man who was always there to do things for others. Their family is struggling to understand what has just happened and how they move forward from here. The brother said that his injured knee will eventually heal, but his heart will not.
Many gender reveal parties include what is basically a pipe bomb. It isn’t presented that way when you find the instructions online. The pipe explodes and releases confetti or a puff of smoke in either pink or blue to reveal the gender of the baby. The small explosion is meant as the climax event for the party. A gender reveal device sounds harmless. As something associated with a party for babies, and with thousands of videos from parties posted online, the danger wouldn’t be obvious. Unfortunately what’s really happening is people are building fireworks, grenades, and pipe bombs in their garages. With the pink and blue removed and the instructions retitled, these devices would clearly be considered dangerous.
Because of the growing number of tragedies at gender reveal parties, parents-to-be are often mocked online. This was particularly true after the California wildfire in 2020 was started at one. With the dry conditions in the summers in California, even a small fire can quickly turn into a disaster. A similar event happened in Arizona in 2017.
Earlier this month, a man from Michigan was killed during a gender reveal party. The device for this party was a small cannon. When it went off, the man was killed by shrapnel. Flying shrapnel has become a growing danger at these events. A while back, a 56-year-old woman in Iowa attended her child’s gender reveal party. The pipe bomb exploded. Shrapnel hit her in the head, killing her nearly instantly.
Gender reveal parties were started by Jenna Karvunidis in 2008. This first event for the trend didn’t actually involve anything that explodes. Jenna Karvundis shared a blog post with photos that showed she baked a cake. When the icing was cut into, it revealed a pink cake, indicating the child’s sex was female. In 2019, Jenna Karvundis went viral on Facebook when she asked who really cares what gender a child is? She included with the post a photo of the world’s first baby to have a gender reveal party. Bianca is now a child who wears suits. Jenna Karvundis did not have any more gender reveal parties for her two other children. She has said she regrets starting the trend.