The spider webs, tombstones and ubiquitous bloody adornments of Halloween are gone. But there are a few frights that linger out there, and most of them revolve around what is going to happen on Tuesday.
Here are five:
Revenge of the Hanging Chad:
Believe it or not, we could be heading for a repeat of the 2000 election with all the horrors of butterfly ballots and poorly punctured punch cards. This time, however, it's very possible the Democrat, President Barack Obama, could end up losing the popular vote but win re-election through the Electoral College.
We're not talking recounts in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties this time, however. It may be in counties with names like Hamilton, Montgomery, and, yes, even Sandusky. All in Ohio.
The latest Gallup Poll shows Romney and Obama in a virtual tie at 48 percent. RealClearPolitics' average of numerous polls on Saturday had Obama at 47.4 percent and Romney at 47.3 percent.
But given how states are likely to go, Obama has a presumed edge in electoral votes, leading 247 to 206. Given that, the president may only need to win two swing states — Ohio (18 electoral votes) and Nevada (6 electoral votes) — to pass the coveted 270.
If Obama doesn't take Ohio — the state that's gone with every winning president since 1964 — it's anybody's guess. A tie in the Electoral College is a possibility, even with Obama carrying Ohio. If he carries New Hampshire and Wisconsin as well and Romney takes the other swing states of Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada and Iowa, it ends locked 269 each. That's when things get interesting.
The Superstorm that Ate our Brains:
Before high winds and surging waters had even started to make kindling of homes from Virginia to Connecticut, pundits were already arguing about who would benefit more from superstorm Sandy, Romney or Obama.
It helps Obama because it makes him look presidential, it reminds people that Romney wanted to privatize FEMA, and it stops Romney's momentum from the debates.
No, it helps Romney because it puts Obama on the hot seat, it suppresses voting and it forced the president off the campaign trail.
Answer: Who cares? At last count, there were more than 90 people dead and tens of thousands without homes, businesses or electricity. Damages are expected to be $30 billion to $50 billion.
As Dana Milbank of the Washington Post noted in his column last week, "It may be heresy to say so (days) before a presidential election, but some things are bigger than politics." Hear, hear.
The Return of the Do-Nothing Congress:
Despite all the clatter and money spent on Congressional races, it looks in the end that the likely outcome of this election will be ... no change.
Although roughly 30 seats in the House are considered toss-ups, Democrats would have to win 26 of them to swing the balance of power. Not likely.
In the Senate, where Democrats hold a 53-47 lead, there are nine seats that are up in the air. Republicans will likely pick up seats in Nebraska, North Dakota and Montana. But Democrats are likely to pick up Massachusetts, and, in the end, the balance of power is likely to remain unchanged.