My favorite party I have thrown is a kitty cat ice cream social birthday party for my daughter. I went totally overboard, and it was awesome. I had my husband make an ice cream stand, painting it to match with the color scheme I had chosen. I made kitty cat ears for each guest. I had every type of ice cream topping imaginable. The guests loved it and I still smile when I look at the pictures. Ice cream socials are a cute retro theme that you can take in so many directions. In addition to my kitty cat theme, read on to find some seriously next level ice cream social party ideas.
Not Just For Birthdays
Ice cream socials are great for any occasion. Birthdays, holidays, neighborhood block parties, school events, weddings. Whatever the reason to throw a party, ice cream goes along with anything! You can throw an ice cream social any time of year too, why not have ice cream in the middle of winter?
Most ice cream socials are held outdoors, but I really wanted to do an ice cream social for my daughter’s birthday, and all my kids have spring or fall birthdays. It’s not exactly ice cream weather outside during those seasons where we live. So I brought the party inside. When you’re planning your own party, don’t let the season or weather dictate what you’re doing.
If you’re throwing an ice cream social for a birthday party you may be wondering if cake is necessary. The answer is it’s totally up to you! I did have a cake for my daughter’s birthday, and I tried to tie into the theme. To be honest the kids didn’t really eat any of the cake since they were stuffed full of ice cream, so I was sure to cut very tiny pieces.
The decorations you use depend largely on your event. I had seen a blog post somewhere for an adorable lemonade stand, and my inspiration for the kitty cat ice cream social was born (my daughter wanted a cat-themed birthday so I had to tie that in somehow).
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend making an ice cream stand, the supplies ended up costing quite a bit and my poor husband spent hours in our cold garage. To be fair I did plan on having a lemonade stand in the summer, but it was so heavy there was no way we were trudging it down to the street.
A much easier solution would be using a pull-out table and covering it with a cute tablecloth. If you want easy cleanup just use a plastic party tablecloth. If you want to dress it up add a bunting or tassel banner around the edge of the table. Paper bunting banners like the one I made are really simple to make and you can use it for more than just one party. Tassel banners are also easy to make but are time consuming. I’ll be doing a tassel banner DIY tutorial in the coming weeks so stay tuned for that.
If you have a color scheme in mind for your party, keep all decorations in that theme. My daughter’s party was all in pinkand yellow, but you can choose anything you want. Pastel colors such as pink, green, blue and yellow lend themselves particularly well to ice cream social parties.
I didn’t want a bunch of balloons floating around to I choose two oversized pink helium balloons to go on either side of the stand. I love oversized balloons, they are high impact and you can use them for super cute photo ops after the party.
Serving it Right
The sky is the limit here! If you’re having a lot of toppings sticking with vanilla ice cream is the easiest since you won’t need more than one ice cream scoop. If you have several flavor options for ice cream I would choose no more than three. Depending on the age of your guests too many choices will leave them unable to make a decision.
Whether you serve your guests or let them scoop the ice cream themselves should also largely depend on your guest’s ages and what your serving setup is. Our guests were all in preschool so we served their ice cream for them. I also didn’t have any room for ice cream on the main table so it was easier to just serve it in the kitchen. If your guests are older and you don’t want to stand there scooping ice cream, just set up the ice cream buckets with a scoop in each and you’re done.
If your party is outside during the heat of summer, have a large cooler full of ice on hand. You don’t want the ice cream melting, but you also won’t want to keep running in and out of your house to fetch ice cream flavors from the freezer. Depending on how many people you’re hosting and how hot it is, you may want to have a second bucket of ice cream in the freezer which you can swap out should the ice cream melt too fast. Have a last call for ice cream before packing it in the house.
Toppings are the fun part. We did lots of colorful sprinkles, whipped cream, maraschino cherries, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, marshmallows, and chocolate chips. The kids had the choice of ice cream in a bowl or a cone. We did matching labels and I covered the whipped cream and sauce bottles in coordinating scrapbook paper.
If you’re doing an adult’s ice cream social you can add some flavored liquor as an ice cream topping. Coffee liqueur, peppermint schnapps, and Irish cream all work well. You can also preserve fruit like cherries and peaches in bourbon for a boozy topping.
Christmas and New Years parties also lend themselves well to an ice cream social. You can add lots of festive toppings such as crushed candy canes, gingerbread pieces, and mini rum balls. Add some holiday ice cream flavors such as eggnog and peppermint and you can skip the often tiresome holiday baking fest.
Summer ice cream socials are great since you can take the party and mess outdoors. Add some tropical fruit toppings such as pineapples, mangoes, and bananas and you’ve got the makings of an ice cream luau.
We All Scream for Ice Cream!
Ice cream socials are a fun way to celebrate any occasion. They’re pretty easy to put together, and enjoyable for guests of all ages. Who doesn’t like ice cream?? You can modify an ice cream social to go with any theme that you like and any color scheme that suits you.
I hope you were able to find some inspiration today and if you have any questions about throwing your own ice cream social please leave a comment below and I’m happy to help!