There are fewer trick-or-treaters every year, and have been since I was a child and the apocryphal razor-blade-in-the-apple story began making the rounds. Jump cut to the present and our fear-based media cycle (terrorists! pedophiles! immigrants! flesh-eating bacteria! gay marriage! socialist president!) and you've got parents driving their kids to the mall for pre-wrapped candies and exhortations to consume! consume! consume! before being driven home and ushered into the house through the garage door so they don't ever have to meet the neighbors.
The result: the decline of community, the decline of democracy, a landscape where we stay in our homes, our children locked indoors, listening to the news on television telling us how scary it is out there.
Look outside. No kids in the park. No one riding bikes. No hide and seek til the streetlights come on. No pick-up wiffle-ball games.
Look in the paper. Voters driven to the polls by fear and anger. No one interested in dialogue, community. Us versus them. Throw the bastards out. Arrest the immigrants. Keep your hands off my paycheck.
See a connection?