An Ice Cream Social just might be the world’s easiest party to throw.
We were aiming to throw an annual ice cream social, but…you know. Life happens. So now we just throw one every once in a while.
This party is easy enough for a perfectionist like me to throw without everything else in my (too busy) life coming to a screeching halt.
Step One: Send invitations. You can make this as fancy or simple as you’d like. Sometimes I go with handmade cards, or store-bought, but lately I’ve been using Evite (they have ice-cream themed designs here). When you send them, decide whether you’d like to ask your guests to bring ice cream toppings, or whether you’d like to provide them yourself. Either is okay, but let your guests know what to bring. You may also want to ask them to bring chairs or swimsuits, depending on the scope of the party. You might choose to hold your party mid-afternoon or in the evening, after dinner.
Step Two: Decide on decorations and entertainment. Oriental Trading has a good selection of ice-cream themed favors and decorations. In years past, we’ve also booked a bounce house, which is lovely to have so the kids can burn off all the sugar you’re going to feed them. Other ideas include Slip n Slides, spinklers, water balloons, or other watery fun. We also have a swingset in out backyard. One idea I’ve always wanted to try is to have an ice-cream eating contest, ala Bobby Brady.
Step Three: Settle on the menu. You could do ice cream cones and a myriad of ice cream flavors, but that often complicates things. Little kids especially may get upset if they don’t get EXACTLY what so-and-so got. Also, a larger variety encourages people to come back for second and thirds, which isn’t good for their waistlines OR your budget. So I recommend purchasing 8-10 oz clear plastic cups (like you might use for punch), and vanilla ice cream, and having your guests build their own sundaes. If you’re going for easy-peasy-lemon-squeezey, buy everything you need at the store (chocolate syrup, hot fudge, caramel, fruit, brownies, crushed Oreos and candy bars, whipped cream, maraschino cherries…use your imagination!). If you have more time, you could make your own ice cream, and/or your own toppings. This is where it gets fun if you ask your guests to bring toppings. One year, we had someone bring sample-sized bottles of HOT SAUCE that was specifically designed for desserts. Another time, some one brought their favorite ice cream topping: GUMMI BEARS. (Admittedly, I’d never have thought of that one!) You may also want to provide munchies like chips so that you have the salty to counterbalance the sweet; if you do, I heartily recommend pretzels. As anyone who’s ever tried Chubby Hubby knows, pretzels go GREAT with ice cream.
On the day of the party, sit back and relax. It really runs itself. Have plenty of plastic cups, plastic spoons and napkins on hand. Wet wipes are also a nice touch, especially if there will be lots of kids at the party. Have one or two ice cream scoops on hand, and plenty of trash receptacles. For us, it’s usually an outside party, so we don’t need to worry about cleaning up spills or drips.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I cannot be responsible if you get stuck with all the leftovers and eat your way through them. This happened to our family more than once, and I do NOT recommend it. Give the leftovers AWAY!
Easy parties TOTALLY work for me!