Whether you are newly moving in to a neighborhood this summer, or you have known your neighbors for years, it can be easy to feel a little “disconnected” from them this day and age. A great way to get the neighborhood together this summer is by having an Ice Cream Social! An Ice Cream Social will provide the perfect setting that is both informal and relaxed to have neighbors enjoy each other’s company and indulge their sweet tooth.
How to serve the sweets
When laying out all of the ingredients for your ice cream social, try to think of the flow as if it were a buffet line. The beginning of the line will be what holds the ice cream, followed by ingredients, and ending with napkins and spoons. This design in simple, yet effective, and will make the traffic around the table much easier to maneuver. Also, be sure the clearly label everything that you have laid out on your food table. This not only keeps your guests from wondering what something might be, you can create several cute and unique ways to label.
Now to expand on the sweetness: provide a lot of options! The best part of an ice cream social is that every guest can make their own delicious creation that will be unique to them. For ice cream flavors, you can keep it simple and provide the classic flavors like vanilla and chocolate. These two flavors are usually crowd favorites and can be combined with almost anything. If your gathering is on the larger side and you are adding in more specialty flavors, be sure to have a couple of extra cartons of the vanilla and chocolate, just in case you start to run out. Below, we will let you know about our favorite ideas for toppings; just remember, the more the merrier!
For helping your guests create their own sweet concoction, provide them with two base options: the ice cream cone or a traditional bowl. The ice cream cone is wonderful because there is no clean up, (because they ate it), and the bowl is great for those of your friends and neighbors who will want to load up on a lot of toppings.
An Ice Cream Social in the middle of the summer becomes a pretty big challenge, even if your summer is mild. Heat combined with ice? The answer is a no brainer. Ice cream seems to melt almost instantaneously and, no matter if you are indoors or out, no one wants cartons of spoiled ice cream. The best way to keep everything cool is to place the ice cream in insulated liners. Then for extra measure, place in insulated carton in a bucket of ice that is also insulated. This may seem a little extreme, but your guests will be very appreciative when they get in line and see that ice cream is as if it was just pulled from the freezer.
Picking out the toppings you want for the party is limitless. Just think of anything delicious that is a favorite snack of yours and it is guaranteed that someone puts that on their ice cream. Just to name a few topping ideas, we suggest:
Fruit: strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, bananas, maraschino cherries, raspberries, sautéed apples
Crumbles of: Oreos, chocolate chip, Nilla wafers, Kit-Kats, malt balls, Nutter Butter, Ginger Snaps, toffee, almond rocha, candied bacon, cheesecake
Candy: gummy bears, gummy worms, Sour Patch Kids, candied sprinkles, Red Hots, Hot Tamales, M&M’s, tiny marshmallows, Jelly Beans, Twizzler’s, Candy Canes
Nonsweet: peanuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios, cashew (be sure to check around with neighbors about a possible nut allergy), coconut, pretzels, mint, sea salt
And don’t forget the final touch of hot fudge and whipped cream!
See? The possibilities are endless! Pick and choose your own personal favorites and have fun putting everything together. Other than maybe a melted ice cream spill, this party is wonderful for large groups because the preparations and the cleanup are both equally easy to do.
Quick tip: Have a cooler or deep freeze set to the side filled with pre-made ice cream sandwiches, bars, and cones. Everyone loves those classic summer treats you could only get from the ice cream man!
After the ice cream
One ice cream cone that we guarantee will not melt is our 4ft. ice cream cone pinata! (Although we always recommend you keep the candy out the heat, the pinata will not melt, but the candy might!) This ice cream cone piñata holds 10 lbs. of candy; plenty for a neighborhood gathering. Kids and adults alike will love taking a swing the pinata. Not only is it a fun, family-friendly activity, the ice cream cone makes the perfect decoration piece until you are ready to bust it!
Getting to know your neighbors and reconnecting with ones you have not seen in a while is important; it creates a sense of community. This party idea is easy to plan, quick to assemble, and gives everyone the chance to really get to know one another.