Steps for a fantastic buggy birthday:
1. Buy a whole bunch of edible bugs to feed the kids. Hotlix candy company can set you up with fried crickets, larvae with very potato chip-esque flavors and hard candy with ants embedded.
Step 2. Get some pet Madagascar Hissing Roaches to amaze and/or terrify your friends.
Encourage petting, holding and shrieking.
Step 3: A few rounds of insect sculptionary. Gummy worms will do as prizes.
Step 4: Inspect some bug specimens.
Step 5: A soda geyser. This doesn't technically have any relation to insects, however, it will provide for some good fun and additional chaos (as if that is lacking).
Step 6: Bug-centric cake. Matilda really wanted a mint chocolate chip ice cream cake this year, which was totally do-able. We accessorized with chocolate candies and frosting for ants, gummy worms, crumbled cookies and strawberry toadstools.
Step 7: When a guest asks whether they are allowed to smash their face in the cake, assure them that is permitted at your house.(Note: You may want to bring out those spare baby wipes now.)
Step 8: Bug Favors We found strange glowing lightning bug candies that were too perfect to pass up. We also sent every kid home with a baggy of live ladybugs to release.
Side note: If you want to really kick off the bug party with craziness, try bagging up the ladybugs right as guests arrive. The garden center instructions recommend keeping the ladybugs in a refrigerator to slow them down into a hibernation-like state and maintain more insects alive for when you want to release them. As I pulled them out of the fridge, they look essentially like a bag of dead ladybugs. I imagined I would cut open the mesh bag and just pour bugs into each of the 8 favor bags and tape them closed. That worked for about 1.5 bags. It turns out that the ladybugs "wake up" way faster than I imagined. Very quickly the ladybugs were everywhere in my kitchen. While four adults worked to get the favor bags finished, kids swarmed us with a whole range of responses. Some kids were crawling around trying to save every ladybug and cautioning everyone not to step here or there, other kids were paralyzed with interest watching a bug slowly climb on their hands, and my personal favorite were the two kids running in and out of the house screaming, "The ladybug apocalypse is coming! We are all going to die!!!" A totally calm and serene setting.