The summer is here and it’s a perfect time to have an ice cream social! I don’t see my friends and family very often, so periodically I have fun theme parties to get us all together and catch up. Ice cream is fun on its own, but it’s so much better when you have it to cool off during the hot summer.
I wanted to have a place where my friends and their kids could have some fun, some ice cream, and cool off. It’s been a little over a year since my epic Circus/Carnival party, and I was itching to do another theme party. With the weather heating up where I live, ice cream seemed like a good theme choice this year.
Of course theme parties are no good without decorations. I found a few decorating ideas from browsing the internet this time. I made some of these cute fabric and paper ice cream cones using Icing Designs’ tutorial. They are fully customizable for whichever “flavors” of ice cream you want to make and fairly easy to do if you have basic sewing skills. Outside of ruffling the fabric, most of it was glued together. Pro tip: if fabric is too expensive for you to afford, find some sheets at your local thrift store. I was able to find some sheets in mint green and light pink at a fraction of the cost for these fabric ice cream cones and got some inexpensive muslin for the vanilla ones.
I decorated the wall with twisted streamers inspired by the backgrounds from the videos of the “King of Retro” and “Ambassador of Americana,” Charles Phoenix. I love kitschy mid-century aesthetic and figured the retro look would go well for old-fashioned ice cream shop decor. I also threw together some ice cream bouquets (I used silk flowers so I could reuse them for other parties, but fresh flowers would work well too). These were pretty and cute. I found the plastic waffle cups at my local dollar store and stacked pink and white flowers in them for a strawberry ice cream and whipped cream look, with a single red rose for the cherry on top. Colored frames with popsicle or ice cream prints are a nice dash of color for decorating too.
Wooden spoons are reminiscent of ice cream from my childhood, so I offered those and personalized them by painting the handles with complimentary colors of my party decor.
The food for this party was fun to put together. I originally planned to have pre-scooped ice cream available, but my best Martha-Stewart-intentions fell to the wayside, because I ran out of time. I started pre-scooping ice cream at around 4 in the morning the day of the party. I hadn’t slept yet and still had about a thousand things to do before guests were to arrive in less than 12 hours. About 10 minutes into scooping, and only about 7 scoops later, I knew that pre-scooped ice cream was going to be scratched. To tell you the truth, scooping the ice cream during the party wasn’t that big of a problem as long as I remembered to put the containers back in the freezer regularly. I did have at least 3 or 4 ice cream scoopers available though. That sped things up.
This may be a little silly, but I thought long and hard about what brand ice cream I wanted at my party. I could have gotten those gigantic tubs of ice cream to have a lot of inexpensive ice cream to go around, but I wanted my ice cream to be of better quality. Well known brands such as Ben and Jerry or Häagen–Dazs taste great, but also cost an arm and a leg. When you’re putting on a whole party to go with your ice cream, there is no budget for $5 pints. I kept looking and got super lucky to find a fantastic “BOGO free” sale on Thrifty brand ice cream the week of my party. The days of getting Thrifty ice cream with my grandma as a child is a cherished memory, so I hoped that the ice cream was still similar in quality. It is, by the way! I got relatively plain flavors (vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and mint chip) so that we could mix-in-match them, and so they would go well with the toppings. I also got rainbow sherbet as a fun flavor.
Toppings are some of the most important parts of an ice cream social outside of the ice cream. I wanted to have a large variety, similar to what you find at self-serve frozen yogurt shops. I had candy, fruit, crushed cookies, nuts, sprinkles and such.
One of the toppings I made from scratch was my grandmother’s Homemade Chocolate Syrup. It’s thick, dark, and delicious. Click here for the recipe.
I tried to have cookie bowls for an alternative to cones or regular bowls, but they didn’t turn out so well. I followed the directions that came on the cookie bowl baking pan package, but things went wrong somewhere along the way. It may have been my fault, because I tried to halve the recipe (I’m not too good with splitting some fraction measurements). Somehow the dough was too greasy and the bowls slid apart in the oven. Luckily, the cookie still tasted good, so I added crushed chocolate chip cookies as a topping instead of the bowls. Sometimes baking disasters lead to baking ingenuity!
Another fun addition to the party was this super cool snow cone machine I found. I loved this so much. So many novelty items like this turn out to be complete junk, but this machine worked well and was fun to use. I liked having some non-dairy options at the party since some of my friends are lactose intolerant or vegan. I wish I had had this last year for my carnival party.
I decided to add one more sweet thing to this party (not that I needed it)! I’ve seen ice cream cone cake pops on blogs here and there, but didn’t see many with tutorials or recipes accompanying them. So I figured out how I wanted to make my own ice cream cone cake pops, and I’ve posted my recipe and instructions for them here: Ice Cream Cone Cake Pops.
I really have to recommend having an ice cream social this summer. It doesn’t have to be as fancy as mine was (if you can even call it fancy). I’ve seen many types of socials, including ones like those that happen in Long Beach, CA, where people organize neighborhood ice cream socials to get to know each other’s neighbors better. I think that’s a fantastic idea! Have fun with it and get caught up with old friends or meet new ones.
Have an awesome summer!
Snow Cone machine | Bed Bath and Beyond
Snow Cone Cups By Celebrate It™ | Michaels
Snow cone straws | Dollar Tree
Plastic waffle cone cups | Dollar Tree
Inflatable Ice Cream Cones | Amazon
Pink frame | IKEA
Popsicle art cards | IKEA
Ice Cream Cone baking rack/stand | Michaels (a similar stand here)
Wooden Spoons | Amazon
Paper ice cream cups | Target
Sprinkles tablecloth | Target
***I was not compensated for any products or brands listed in this post. I’ve included the names of the products I’ve used so that you can find them or something similar for a party of your own.Pin It