Life And Art

What Are We Most Scared of … Right Now?

On the Friday before Halloween, Slate staffers share their darkest fears.

What are you afraid of right now? Clown question.

Photo by Jeff Topping/Getty Images

It is a little after 5 on the Friday afternoon before Halloween. What are Slate staffers most afraid of right now, at this moment? We conducted a quick poll.

David Plotz, editor:

I am most afraid that my wife, who is going to NYC this weekend, will get stranded up there all next week by the hurricane, leaving me in full command of our three kids, at least one of whom has a nasty, extremely contagious gastrointestinal bug.

Ellen Tarlin, copy chief:


Romney winning the election!
Also, the usual: poverty.

J. Bryan Lowder, editorial assistant:

That the Brow Beat gods will find this Cloud Atlas music post I’m loving into existence too dry or technical, even though I’m specifically trying to avoid that. Also, that I won’t ever be able to find a suitable harvest wreath for my door.


Rachael Larimore, managing editor:

I’m mostly worried it’s going to rain all weekend, negating plans to go to a pumpkin patch, and leaving me with three whiny kids.

Katherine Goldstein, innovations editor:

I am afraid that Hurricane Sandy will make the EPA superfund site/all-around disgusting cesspool known as the Gowanus Canal near our apartment flood. The canal contains active strains of gonorrhea.


Katie Kilkenny, editorial intern:

That Hurricane Sandy will prevent me from seeing the alleged spectacle (and perhaps disaster) that is Cloud Atlas.

John Swansburg, editorial director:


Holly Allen, designer:


Chris Kirk, interactive editor:

A Romney presidency.

Jeremy Stahl, social media editor:


Katy Waldman, assistant editor:

Jell-O shots. Ick.

Mark Stern, editorial intern:

Mitt Romney wins the election, Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies during his term, and Romney appoints a conservative (Paul Clement?) to replace her. The Court now has the votes to overturn Roe v. Wade, uphold anti-gay discrimination laws of every kind, and strip the EPA of the power to regulate carbon. It can also uphold the death penalty for minors, revoke Guantanamo prisoners’ habeas corpus entirely, and reinstitute prayer in public schools. All of those cases were decided on a 5-4 basis, with Kennedy serving as the fifth vote. Ginsburg is 79. Romney is surging.  

Dan Kois, senior editor for culture:

That someone will send a work email demanding public response at 5:15 on a Friday afternoon.