Welcome back to Totally Lit Parties, a feature in which Corrie shows you how to throw YA-themed parties!
Siobhan Vivian's Stay Sweet is a story about finding inner strength and friendship (plus ice cream), which are some of my favorite reasons to party. So grab your ice cream scoop and your shades, because this is going to be a fun summer bash!
I kept my invitations simple by gluing ice cream cone sticky notes to the front of blank cards, then decorating the rest by hand.
What to Wear
The girls wear soft pink polos when they’re working at Meade Creamery. If that doesn’t sound like your cup of (PMS) tea, consider dressing like Molly would have when she was 17 and on the cusp of creating her own ice cream dream back in the 1940s.
• Homemade Ice Cream: Molly made ice cream with a hand crank bucket to keep spirits up during the war. If you don't have an ice cream maker, feel free to use that. Otherwise, check out some no-churn recipes. Most recipes require several hours of freezing, so make sure you'll have enough time to make and eat the ice cream. Try out some unusual flavorings, like Molly did with honeysuckle. What would be the perfect flavor for your Home Sweet Home?
• Pin It: Every year Molly selects a Head Girl to be in charge of the stand, who also gets the honor of wearing the Head Girl pin. Find something to act as the base to attach your materials to, like I did for attaching some leftover rhinestones in the shape of a flower. Once you’ve decorated the front, glue the pinback to the back. If you’re not feeling creative, find a bead or something that you can simply glue a pinback to.
• JumpZone: Cate takes a job at JumpZone when she thinks the ice cream stand is closed. If there's a similar place near you, book a party of your own and feel like a kid again.
• Visit a Mom-and-Pop Ice Cream Shop: Try out the specials at a local haunt. (Maybe you’ll find a hidden gem like Molly Meade’s stand!) Hold a taste test with all the unique flavors to see which ones you like the best.
• Modern Dancing to Old Music: While trying to figure out the recipes, Amelia catches Grady “dancing in a modern way, almost pop and lock, to the old music.” Turn on some Andrew Sisters and see if you can dab to it. (Maybe it's better for twerking?)
• Movie: Molly writes in her diary about watching Coney Island with Betty Grable. Track down a vintage movie and hold a viewing party to see how entertainment provided an escape for Americans while the rest of their lives were consumed by war.
• Interpretive Sparkler Dance: One of the activities that Cate and Amelia plan for their 4th of July party is interpretive dancing with sparklers. Wait until dark to maximize the experience, and as an added bonus, combine this with the Andrew Sisters for extra fun!
• Diary: Molly’s diary provides important insight into who she was as a person. Provide small notebooks for everyone to decorate and personalize the covers of. Your guests could write about the party as their first entry!
• Volunteer: Molly also wrote a lot of letters, so consider looking into one of the many letter writing projects that will benefit others, such as The Letter Project, Letters Against Depression, and Operation Gratitude. If letter writing isn’t your thing, there are lots of other great options such as Operation Refugee Child where you can put together care packages to mail to those in need.
Tasty Business and Boozy Beverages
Have a cookout like the girls planned for the 4th of July party. Wrap hot dogs in crescent rolls to cook on sticks over a fire. You should also have blueberry muffins like the ones Amelia made to welcome the girls to the stand. If your party starts in the morning, make eggs like Grady (even though it's food that guys who can’t cook say they can make). If you don't feel like cooking, hit up some local food trucks for delicious options while supporting entrepreneurs like Amelia.
For beverages, consider making a boozy milkshake with your homemade ice cream. If you're adding beer to your shake, keep in mind that it will possibly need both additional sugar and malt powder to make it taste right. Alternatively, pick one of the many awesome cocktails from Women’s Libation, a book of cocktails inspired by amazing women just like the ones in Stay Sweet. I’d personally go for Rosé the Riveter to match with the WWII aspects or the Vermouth Bader Gin’sburg for some modern badassery.
Do you have any other Stay Sweet-themed party ideas? Let us know in the comments!
Corrie Golando lives in Lafayette, IN, with her husband and two greyhounds. She spent 10 years as a middle school/high school English teacher, and her students gave her a love for all things YA. When she's not working at the high school library, she is writing fanfiction and doing something crafty. She has a love of all things coated in glitter, much to her husband's horror.