The scariest part about October 2020 will undoubtedly be the headlines. In this issue, Paul Brennan reflects on the origins of Sen. Joni Ernst’s infamous “Make ’em Squeal” ad, her historic 2014 victory and Ernst’s ongoing struggle to earn the backing of Iowa women. This year’s Witching Hour festival (presented by the Englert Theatre and Little Village) is going virtual! Meet some of the headliners: Linn County Supervisor and “radioactive” political personality Stacey Walker; Heavy Color, a musical duo committed to collaborating with, not appropriating, indigenous musicians; and Witching Hour veteran Beatrice Thomas, who has a rather encouraging perspective on the apocalypse. Plus: Local beers to pair with your favorite breed of horror movie; a love letter to the Fox Head Tavern (en español!); and local album and book reviews, touching on everything from abandoned Iowa buildings to our “Dumpster-fire” of a year.