Etc...

AW, FIDO. WHY'D YOU DO THAT?

When Bob Sahr puts his electoral hopes on the line Nov. 5, he may not even be able to count on the vote of his own spouse. The Pierre, S.D., resident is a candidate for a second term on the state's Public Utilities Commission. Alas, Election Day falls at about the time wife Christine is due to deliver their first child. Concerned that she might not be able to go to the polls, Christine asked for an absentee ballot. But it no sooner arrived in the mail than one of the couple's pet dogs chewed it to pieces. Said Sahr, at least the vote didn't go to his opponent.

I DON'T GET TO KEEP IT, DO I?

There are computer errors and then there's the whopper that a resident of Haernoesand, Sweden, found when her latest child-support check arrived from the state. Normally, it amounts to $322 a month. But this one was for – gasp – $10 billion. After hastening to correct the mistake, Gun-Britt Marklund's bank sent her flowers and an apology. "We hope," said a spokesman, "she'll be happy with that."

It just wouldn't be Halloween without Illinois, California

California may be best place to celebrate Oct. 31. According to the US Census Bureau, not only does the state have the largest number of likely Halloween "trick-or-treaters" (defined as 5-to-14-year-olds), but it's also a top player in the goodies industry. Among the Census Bureau's Halloween-related data:

Potential trick-or-treaters

US total: 41.1 million Top state: California 5.3 million

Chocolate products

US total worth (2000): $11.7 billion Top producer states: Pennsylvania, California

Nonchocolate candy

US total worth (2000): $6.8 billion Top producing state: California

Pumpkin production

US total pounds (2001): 831 million Top state: Illinois 319 million

Formal wear/ costume rental shops

US total (2000): 2,685

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