Style Invitational Week 1435: Who needs Peeps when we have CICADAS?
Make a diorama or other artwork with the Brood X insects. Plus post-pandemic predictions.
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(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
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Pat Myers
Style Invitational editor
May 6, 2021 at 9:56 a.m. EDT

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(Click here to skip down to the winners of our contest about what will change post-pandemic)

The Washington Post Magazine’s beloved Peeps diorama contest is no more, alas. But with the arrival this month in the D.C. area — which after all has been hurting for visitors since the pandemic — of literally BILLIONS of the Brood X (as in No. 10) cicadas after 17 years of waiting patiently underground, The Style Invitational is here to revive the tradition of Making Cute Art Out of Disgusting Things. The difference is that we understand that cicadas are actually edible.

This week, at the suggestion of Invite fan Gail Wright: Create a witty visual artwork that includes at least one real cicada or cicada casing (the body-shaped shell from which the insect emerges) and send us a photo of it. Dioramas like the ones in the Peeps contests are certainly welcome but not required; there is no required size or shape, as long as it looks good in your photos — red-eye is a plus in this contest. Given The Style Invitational’s tradition of wordplay, clever titles and/or captions are welcome as well (though not required). But as with the Peeps, impressive craftsmanship and a striking design can’t hurt. Don’t include others’ copyrighted work in your work.

We’re pretty sure it tastes nothing like chicken. Silkworm pupae, this week’s second prize.
We’re pretty sure it tastes nothing like chicken. Silkworm pupae, this week’s second prize.
In a rare fit of benevolence, the Empress will suspend her usual rule of one entrant per entry; if you think up the clever idea and your collaborator makes little cicada bowler hats and another puts up cicada-wing wallpaper, I’ll credit you all.

Also, you get half a month to do this, which should allow for you to find a few thousand ex-cicadas or casings. If you’re not in a Brood X area, you’re on Invite-vacation this week unless you can find someone to send you a few.

(If you’re under 13, you might instead make a picture of a cicada and send it to KidsPost’s Brood X Gallery at

Submit up to 25 entries at (no capitals in the Web address). Please submit each entry on a separate form, or else the photo might not transmit. Deadline is Monday night, May 24; results appear June 6 in print, June 3 online.

Winner gets the Clowning Achievement, our Style Invitational trophy. The Empress went to a Korean supermarket for this week’s appropriate second prize, a can of boiled silkworm pupae.

Runners-up win their choice of our “For Best Results, Pour Into Top End” Loser Mug or our “Whole Fools” Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get one of our lusted-after Loser magnets, “No ’Bility” or “Punderachiever.” First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). See general contest rules and guidelines at The headline “Herd Inanity” is by William Kennard; Chris Doyle wrote the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at; “like” the Style Invitational Ink of the Day on Facebook at; and follow @StyleInvite on Twitter.

The Style Conversational: The Empress’s weekly online column discusses each new contest and set of results. See this week’s, featuring some past winners of Invite art contests (published late afternoon Thursday, May 6), at

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .

Herd inanity: How our lives will change after the pandemic
In Week 1431 we asked for predictions (or “predictions”) about how things will change after the pandemic. Many Losers lamented about how we need new excuses not to visit the in-laws; numerous others predicted a change in dress code to pants-free Fridays.

4th place:
Cardboard-cutout sports fans are repurposed into fake HOV passengers. (Frank Mann, Washington)

3rd place:
Dr. Fauci stars in three Marvel movies. (Daniel Galef, Tallahassee)

2nd place and the hand-shaped cookie cutter:
Finally! I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I licked a doorknob! (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

And the winner of the Clowning Achievement:
Now it will be less awkward when Grandpa tells everyone how Pfizer saved his social life. (Ben Aronin, Washington)

Falling down on the jab: Honorable mentions
I’ll go back to wearing old nylons on my face when I go to the bank. (Chuck Helwig, Centreville, Va.)

“Oh no, not a snow day! Please, please, please let me go to school to see my friends!” (Richard Franklin, Alexandria, Va.)

40/30 jeans will now be called “slim-fit.” (Rob Huffman, Fredericksburg, Va.)

AA and WW will compete over who has more new members. (Ward Kay, Vienna, Va.)

After the schools reopen, Billy Wilkes, 14, of Kenosha, Wis., will be the first student sent to the principal’s office for screaming “THIS IS SO BORING” after forgetting that he wasn’t muted. (Todd DeLap, Fairfax, Va.)

The cicada mating orgy after 17 years of buildup is dwarfed by the number of hookups on dating apps. (Mike Gips, Bethesda, Md.)

Everyone’s dominant hand will be shaky from the year of constantly moving the computer mouse to keep their Teams accounts from going idle. (Joe McManus, Silver Spring, Md.)

At rock concerts, groupies will toss only new, still-in-the-wrapper underwear toward the stage. (Leif Picoult, Rockville, Md.)

Cash-strapped arsonists are forced to ignite wildfires with leftover hand sanitizer, instead of the more traditional, but costly, Jewish space laser. (Frank Mann)

Coronavirus test nasal swabs can be donated to zoos as a lifetime supply of Q-tips for elephants. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

Damn, there goes my excuse for not hugging those grubby little grandkids! (Drew Bennett, West Plains, Mo.)

Take Your Kids to Work Day will return to only once a year. (Jeff Rackow, Bethesda, Md.)

Everybody losing that “covid 15” weight will cause . .  just kidding, nobody will lose that covid 15. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

FEMA will hold a donation drive to get thousands of now-unwanted backyard fire pits to Texas in time for the next winter power failure. (Terri Berg Smith, Rockville, Md.)

For the 2022 elections in Georgia and Florida, all those unused masks will be repurposed as gags for voters. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

I’m going to hook my Peloton screen to my real bike so I can enjoy the outdoors! (Drew Bennett)

To preserve passenger safety, Metro will designate Red and Blue train cars for riders with different politics. (Greg Dobbins, Boynton Beach, Fla.)

In parks throughout Maryland and Virginia, people will take pictures of their friends posing on empty pedestals. (Kristin Braly, Baltimore)

To deal with excess toilet paper:

●Instead of lemonade stands, kids will have TP stands to reduce the household stockpile. (George Smith, Frederick, Md.)

●Parents encourage kids to TP the neighbors’ house. (Richard Lorentz, Woodland Hills, Calif., a First Offender)

●Everyone dresses as a mummy this Halloween. (Chris Damm, Charles Town, W.Va.; Art Grinath, Takoma Park, Md.)

●Citizens save coastal cities by using excess toilet paper to soak up rising sea levels. (Gary Crockett)

●Employees will take toilet paper to the supply closet at work. (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)

With social distancing relaxed, Washington Football Team defenders will stand only three feet away from the opponent’s offense. (Jesse Rifkin, Glastonbury, Conn.)

The lifting of restrictions on Florida social gatherings lets Matt Gaetz attend his girlfriends’ proms. (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

When the economy fully reopens, restaurants will have waiting lines, roads will be clogged, and gas prices will rise. Republicans will blame Biden. (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)

Americans rush back to family holiday dinners and suddenly remember why they used to skip them. (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.)

You can score some genuine Gucci face masks for only $49 each. (Jon Ketzner, Cumberland, Md.)

We’ll finally be able to eat bat tartare again! (Bill Dorner, Indianapolis)

Want to avoid the next bridal shower or toddler birthday? Just mention your anti-vax views online, and no one will bother you. Ahhhh! (Ellen Ryan, Rockville, Md.)

We can finally take essential workers for granted again. (Jesse Frankovich)

You no longer know what time it is at work by what TV show is on. (Jon Gearhart)

Wuhan Tourist Bureau 2022 campaign: “Come See Where It All DEFINITELY DID NOT Get Started” (Mark Raffman)

You’ll see a neighbor in the street who looks vaguely familiar, but your “aha” moment will come only once you picture them wearing a mask. (Eric Nelkin, Silver Spring, Md.)

New home construction will incorporate “Zoom rooms” with pre-decorated backgrounds of erudite-looking bookshelves and fascinating knickknacks. (Sam Mertens, Silver Spring, Md.)

With all the extra plexiglass, we can give every mime his own invisible box. (Brett Dimaio, Cumberland, Md.)

That gas station near my house will go back to cleaning the restrooms every June instead of its pandemic regimen of once a month. (Roy Ashley, Washington)

Thousands of guys, finally meeting their Zoom girlfriends in person, will have to admit they’re not “about 6-foot-2.” (Leif Picoult)

Beautiful women I don’t even know will be able to spontaneously run up and kiss me as I walk the streets! It could happen. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)

After the Biden administration’s intensive vaccination campaign finally brings the spread under control, the ex-president will pop up and say, “See? I told you it would disappear.” (Leif Picoult)

People will recover their sense of taste, except of course when it comes to The Style Invitational. (Bob Kruger, Rockville, Md.)

Still running — deadline Monday night, May 10: our annual “grandfoals” contest. See

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