Mira S. Park is a North Jersey blogger who focuses on local news and events, kids, food, parties, travel and budget living. After more than 10 years in the book publishing industry as an editor for romance, thrillers and westerns, she transitioned into work at home positions. Besides being a wife and mother of two wonderful children she also does sales and consulting for online advertising and social media. You can email her at: email@example.com and read her blog at: www.mirabest.com
With the humidity rising and the dog days of summer ambushing us with stifling air, what’s the best way to cool down? If you have a child’s birthday party to plan in the next few months, you will definitely be interested in these “cool” local spots.
Ice Cream Party Locations
Ben & Jerry’s at Port Imperial in West New York, NJ, opened just one year ago. The basic party is $225 for a minimum of 10 kids ($14.99 each additional). They provide invitations, paper goods and balloons; all you have to bring are the drinks! The staff will also keep kids busy with arts and crafts, face painting, games and dancing. If you do the 11 am slot you can order lunch with their approved caterers. That’s not all. Kids can take a store tour, make a waffle bowl and of course, make their own sundae with all their favorite toppings! Two things that could concern some parents about this location is the lack of parking and the fact that you would have to be open to their regular customers in the same area. There is no separate party room.
Little Scoops in Closter, NJ, is also known for hosting kids birthday parties. Take a step back in time with their 1950’s retro ice cream parlor. Parties here include invitations, paper goods, dancing, games, pizza, drinks, autographed T-shirt and make-your-own sundaes. You get four flavors of Edy’s ice cream and up to 12 toppings. They can accommodate from 15 to 40 guests. The cost is $370 for 15 kids and each additional kid is $18. Owner Rachel said that parents love them because they do everything—serve the food, bag gifts, clean up, etc. There are 90 parking spots in a municipal lot behind the store. This is a good option because you don’t have to share the store with regular customers but the choices in ice cream flavors are limited.
McCool’s is located in Madison, NJ, and they have a great deal for parties. They serve 35 flavors of Hershey’s ice cream. There is a 10-child minimum (20 to 25 max) and it will cost $13/child. This includes any flavor of ice cream and unlimited toppings, drinks, table settings and two games: ice cream bingo and pin-the-cherry-on-the-ice-
Applegate Farm has parties only at its Freehold, NJ, location. What stands out is that in addition to making your own sundae, they have an ice cream making demonstration where kids can take turns on the churner to make vanilla ice cream. They have a separate party room for 10-20 kids that has a barnyard theme and small dance floor. Kids can play musical chairs, pin the tail on the donkey and limbo. The basic package (no sundae or pizza) is $9.95/child. There is also a $12.95 and $16.95 package; the $18.95 package includes everything. All packages include a 6-inch round ice cream cake and drinks.
(note: all of the above are 1 ½ hour parties)
Ice Cream at Your Door
Say you are a big fan of ice cream but want to host it at your house. Another option is having the cart come to you! South Street Creamery in Morristown, NJ, will bring 4 tubs of ice cream of your choosing, 2 servers and around 10 toppings. They have over 100 different flavors to choose from and come supplied with spoons, napkins and tablecloths. They will stay for 1 ½ hours and will travel to a 30 mile radius around Morristown. There is a 40 person minimum and it costs $6.50 per person.
There aren’t many options for ice cream party locations in Essex county but there is an ice cream truck that you can have come to you. Mike’s Ice Cream truck of Verona will come to your house if you live in Essex or Morris County. Somehow the sight of an ice cream truck makes kids ecstatic. He charges you what people take from the truck and a small service fee (which can be waived for large parties). For 20 kids it can come to about $40.
Do It Yourself
If you’re like me, you’re thinking, “Maybe I can do this myself?” Buy your favorite ice cream by the bulk and serve out of a dressed up cooler filled with dry ice. Rent an old-fashioned ice cream costume and have daddy serve it. Mini M&M’s and hot fudge are easy enough to buy. The Internet has great resources from party planners and every day “Martha-wannabe” moms:
Kids party blogger Peppers and Pollywogs has wonderful suggestions for tableware, invitations, favors, crafts/games, etc. and provides a marketplace to purchase items. I liked the decoration idea of using party hats upside down as “cones” and putting different colored balloons inside to be the “ice cream.”
If you are a bit more crafty, Dotcomwomen has a great decoration idea for ice cream cones: I also liked their craft idea—using plastic sundae glasses (at dollar stores) and colored cotton balls to make fake ice cream bowls. For their favor ideas, I liked the cookies, berry-filled cones, mini scrapbook and Strawberry Shortcake book ideas the best.
I love this centerpiece idea: she suggests carnations in sundae glasses and Ikea has the glasses for cheap (I happen to have them!). Here is another site that has a ton of games you can try including tips on how much ice cream you will need for the amount of people you expect.
For the real do-it-yourself advice BirthdayPartyIdeas.com has real moms giving tips and they will blow you away: The first honorable mention is Sara from Suffolk, VA, and she put a lot of work into making it a great birthday party. I love her games—“Cold Cone” and “Ice Cream Relay” are both easy to recreate. Charlotte, in Rochester, MI had a great game, too—having the kids catch the ice cream (balloons) with their cones (made of poster board). I also loved Lynn in Canada (Special Mention)’s idea of a favor: putting jelly beans in a wafer cone and tying it up with cellophane.