SLIDING SALES: Median prices and sales of...

SLIDING SALES: Median prices and sales of San Fernando Valley homes fell sharply last month. September sales were down 22% from the year before. . . . The median price of a single-family home dropped from $180,000 to $158,000. Details in Valley Business, Pages D7A-D7F.

A LOT SMALLER: Developers in Valencia have found a way to appeal to young home buyers who don't want condos. . . . Builders are now putting up smaller, less expensive homes on "mini-lots" about half the size of a typical single-family parcel (D7A). "It's been very well received," said Robert Bray, managing director of a company that follows housing sales.

EVENING WEAR: The kids may be outfitted as witches and goblins tonight, but adults increasingly have favored period pieces with "a French court look--that look from 'Dangerous Liaisons,' " said Donna Roberts, vice president of Western Costume in North Hollywood. "It's a real costume--white wigs and stuff you never get to wear." On Monday, Joseph McCarthy of Costa Mesa, above, dressed up as Lestat from the film "Interview With the Vampire."

ADD COSTUMES: No one's quite sure why, but North Hollywood seems to be L.A.'s unofficial costume capital, with a dozen companies that specialize in unique clothing. . . . Why NoHo? Possibly its proximity to major studios. But Roberts thinks it may just be coincidence--and the bottom line. "It's cheaper out here," Roberts said of rental space.

OH, CANADA: As voters in Quebec decided Monday whether to remain a part of Canada (A1), Bob Baum of Encino could only watch from afar. As a native of Toronto, Baum couldn't cast a vote in the historic election--but still opposed secession. . . . "It would be terribly destructive," said Baum, president of the Canadian Society in Los Angeles. "There's no great benefit to be gained."

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