Tricks, Treats, or Both? Maggot Rice Krispies, Chocolate “Chirpie” Cookies, and the ISU Entomology Club

After all of you Halloween zombies out there have feasted on blood and brains, can I tempt you with a nice chocolate-covered grasshopper, or maybe some mealworm banana bread, for dessert? No, really! Just scroll down, and you’ll see I’ve included the recipes.

In 1992, the ISU Entomology Club made national headlines for a component of its annual Insect Horror Film Festival when students Julie Stephens and Kathy Gee took their entomological desserts on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

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The Entomology Club had been a fixture on the ISU campus since the 1970s. I’ve included the covers from some of their early newsletters below.

However, the Insect Horror Film Festival seems to have been a new development in their programming in the early 1990s — though its subsequent popularity was undoubtedly helped along almost as much by the national recognition as by the prospect of a “petting zoo,” a lecture on forensic pathology (i.e. the science of human corpse erosion), and the alluring snacks.

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As far as I can tell, the Insect Horror Film Festival was discontinued at ISU around 2005* [see end note for correction], though not before it was featured in travel guidebooks and inspired similar programs in numerous other Entomology departments around the country. It also certainly made an impression on young guests who attended.

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And here, as promised, are some of the tasty recipes reproduced in the Ames Tribune, along with a helpful guide for acquiring and preparing the insects.

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If you forgot to pick up candy for trick-or-treating this year, now you know what to hand out to the kids!

*UPDATE: This blog posts speculates, based on current archival holdings, that the Insect Horror Film Festival was discontinued in the mid-2000s. However, Entomology has since let us know that this program, under a slightly different name, is still going strong today! For more information, check out their department’s event calendar archive and/or the Reiman Gardens event calendar.

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