I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Okay, we don’t really “scream” for ice cream, but we do get pretty excited.
Of all the sweet treats we know and love, ice cream is a timeless staple enjoyed by kids and grownups alike. You can eat it in a cone, with a spoon, between two cookies, or with a mountain of toppings. And with a seemingly endless variety of flavors from sweet to savory, there’s something for every taste.
Now that the temps are rising and outdoor festivities are in full swing, we can officially say ice cream season is upon us. So what better way to celebrate a birthday or special occasion than to throw an ice cream social?
Whether you’re planning a summer birthday party or you’re just looking for an excuse to eat ice cream (we don’t blame you), these ice cream social party ideas are meant to give you the inspiration you need to throw the coolest party on the block.
Melt their hearts with sweet details
Ice cream goes hand-in-hand with summertime, so we made sure our party’s color palette was fun, bright, and extra colorful. White, mint, yellow, pink, purple, and blue give this party a fresh look and plenty of pop.
Tissue paper pompoms, honeycombs, and paper lanterns adorn the ice cream table and floor beneath. We used different sizes and colors to add dimension and flair. Above the table is a pennant banner made with coordinating scrapbook paper hung on baker’s twine.
No party is ever really complete without balloons, so we suggest framing a table with a few balloons in different colors and at different heights — some on the table, some on the floor. That includes these confetti balloons, which we also added to our dining table.
And that giant ice cream cone? Yep, you can make one, too! We simply used brown craft paper to make the cone, tissue paper for the ice cream pom poms, and a small honeycomb for the cherry on top.
Put the ice cream in ice cream social
And now for the life of the party: the ice cream! With so many ways to dress up an ice cream cone or cup, we kept our food table pretty simple and offered cupcakes in addition to our cones, bowls, and toppings. To save room and add height to your table of treats, use cake stands and crates to display empty cones.
If you decide to do this, make sure you wrap the cone in parchment paper first to create a food-safe barrier for you and your guests.
(Tip: Some partygoers may be unable to eat dairy, so consider offering nondairy alternatives. You can find nondairy ice cream pretty much everywhere now, and sorbet and sherbet are both equally delicious options as well.)
There might be guests who prefer to enjoy their treat in a cup (cones can get messy, after all). Use paper cups wrapped in our free printable (printed on sticker paper) to serve some scoops or a classic ice cream float.
This free printable is perfect for decorating syrup or sauce dispensers.
Add a cherry on top!
What’s an ice cream social without the toppings? Display your favorites in clear mason jars with spoons for easy use. We just used a tiny chalkboard to point to the cones and assorted toppings, but you could also label each mason jar using colored craft paper or printable stickers. Not only does this identify toppings that aren’t easily recognizable, but it also alerts guests to ingredients associated with food allergies.
Create a space for guests to “chill.”
We dressed our dining table with a white tablecloth and sprinkled confetti down the center for color. Paper plates matching your party’s color palette will stand out on the white tablecloth, and paper napkins in a coordinating color add even more pizazz.
Our confetti balloons line the center of the table and help bring the height of the food table into the rest of the room.
(Tip: Add curled ribbon tendrils to your balloons for a fun detail that won’t go unnoticed.)
Add some flavor to your gift table.
Give your guests who arrive with cards a designated spot to place them.
And for your guests who bring wrapped gifts, create a spot near the guest of honor’s seat. Bonus points if you can find a chair that looks like it’s straight out of an ice cream parlor!
This free printable can be attached to a basket of your choice, which can then be gifted to the guest of honor.
We placed our beverage station near the cards and gifts, as guests typically grab a drink as soon as they arrive. Fill a cup with paper straws and place it next to a beverage dispenser with your drink of choice.
Not every gift is suitable for a gift bag , which is why wrapping paper is sometimes your best bet. You can easily make a gift look professionally wrapped using one of our favorite gift-wrapping hacks: washi tape! We used this gold glitter tape to create the illusion of a ribbon without fumbling with actual ribbon. Place a bow on top and pair it with a birthday card to complete the picture-perfect gift.
We love when a greeting card matches a party’s theme, and this greeting card is the perfect example. (It also makes a great addition to the decorations when framed!)
All these ideas are simple, budget-friendly ways to share the love of ice cream. But the best tip we can give you is to enjoy yourself and your company because making memories is priceless.