Doc Grubb
About Doc Grubb
Doc Grubb Store
Read our Newsletter
Medical Practice Information
Color Your PlateCalendar
Contact Us



Welcome to the Doc Grubb newsletter for October 2008. The kids have been back in school for one month now and it’s time for Halloween! You may not know this but Halloween is the second largest holiday for shopping, gift giving and parties next to Christmas. North Americans spend more than $6.5 billion dollars on Halloween while Canadians spend about $1.5 billion dollars each year; the largest expenditure is for Halloween candies.

What we now celebrate as Halloween is actually derived from three different sources, that is 1) the Celts; 2) and 3) the Romans (they always count twice)

Samhain (pronounced "sowen"). 2,000 years ago, the Celts of modern-day Ireland and the UK ago braced themselves for winter with this festival, which means "summer's end" and falls on November 1. Samhain marks the beginning of the dark, cold half of the year so the Celts gathered their harvest and gave thanksgiving, made sacrifices, divination and prayers.

Pomona. Pomona was the Roman goddess of fruit trees and the symbol of abundance. The Romans held a festival dedicated to her at the end of autumn, around the time of the big harvest. The Romans combined this custom with Samhain when they conquered Britain in the first century.

Feralia This was the ancient Roman festival of the dead. Feralia was held on February 21 with prayers and sacrifices on behalf of the deceased. This festival also was combined with Samhain. The Christian Church changed Fearlia to All Saints Day (All Hallow's Day or Hallowmas) observed on May 13. Pope Gregory III changed the date to November 1 in the eighth century. All Saint's Day was followed by All Soul's Day, on November 2 to remember the souls awaiting release from Purgatory. Halloween is a contraction for "Hallow's even, " October 31st, the evening of “All Hallow's Day.”

We also have several other customs that are the modern face of Halloween deeply rooted in the mists of history:

Jack-o'-lantern. The jack-o-lantern was originally a carved out turnip with a candle inside. It’s named after Jack, a poor Irish soul, who used it to light his way as he wandered for all eternity, denied entrance to both Heaven and Hell. The Irish brought this custom to the US in the 1840s but found it more convenient to use pumpkins instead of a turnip, rutabaga or gourd.

Bobbing for apples. A Celtic parlor game played on Samhain in which unmarried people would try to bite into an apple in water or on a string. The first person who was successful would be the first person to marry.

Trick or treating. Going out to ask for “tricks or treat” may be derived from an All Soul's Day practice, "going a-souling," in which poor people called soulers would beg door-to-door. The soulers would promise to say a prayer for the dead if they were given a gift of soulcakes. In Ireland, farmers prepared for the All Saint's Day and All Souls Day the night before by going door-to-door collecting food for a village celebration. Those who gave were promised prosperity; those who did not give were threatened with bad luck.  In the 1800s, Irish Catholic immigrants brought this practice to America. But knowing that America (and Russia) invented everything, some say that the practice developed in the US in the 20th century, especially the part where children threaten a trick if they don't get a treat.

Costumes. The Celts wore disguises, usually made of animal skins, during their Samhain celebrations, possibly to conceal themselves from the spirits who were afoot at the time. No wonder people dress up in caveman costumes at Halloween.

Ghost stories. Ghost stories began with the Celtic belief that during Samhain the boundaries between this world and the Otherworld became blurred and the spirits of those who had departed walked the earth.


I know you love to dress up in costumes but it is also an important time to be extra careful so you don’t get hurt.

Costume safety

  • Make sure that your costume isn’t too long that you’ll trip on it and fall.
  • Have your mom or dad put some reflective tape on your costume or wear a costume made of bright material that is visible in the dark. Some kids like to carry a bag that glows in the dark or a small flashlight. Neat!
  • Make sure that you can see clearly out of the mask you are wearing
  • If you carry a knife or swords they should be soft and bend easily so they can’t hurt you or your friends

Trick-or-Treating safety

  • If you are too old for your parents to go with you, be sure you travel in large groups in your own or a close friend’s neighborhoods. The houses you go to should be lit up so you can see inside. Remember “Monster House?”
  • Carry a flashlight or wear a light on your costume so you can see where you are going and be seen.
  • Don’t take shortcuts across backyards or alleys. Stick to the sidewalks of well lit streets. It’s really easy to fall into a hole when you’re wearing a costume in the dark.

Candy safety

  • Take all the candy you get home before eating it so that you and your parents can carefully inspect it for tampering. Don’t snack on your candy while your out trick-or-treating.
  • Don’t accept anything that isn't wrapped in plastic.

Back to Top


Although black and orange are the traditional colors of Halloween you often see purple, green, and red used in advertising.

It’s easy to remember what colors to use if you associate them with images of Halloween:

Black -death, night, witches, black cats, bats, vampires
Orange- pumpkins, jack o' lanterns, Autumn, the turning leaves, fire
Purple- night, the supernatural, mysticism
Green- goblins, monsters
Red- blood, fire, evil

The carved jack-o'-lantern, lit by a candle inside, is one of Halloween's most prominent symbols. Although there is a tradition in the British Isles of carving a lantern from a rutabaga or from a turnip, the practice was first named and associated with Halloween in North America, where the pumpkin was available, and much larger and easier to carve. Many families that celebrate Halloween carve a pumpkin into a frightening or comical face and place it on their home's doorstep after dark.

Because Halloween is so close to the annual apple harvest, Candy Apples are a common treat at Halloween. Candy apples are made by rolling whole apples in a sticky sugar syrup or caramel and then rolling them in nuts or candy.

Another Halloween custom in Ireland is the baking of a barmbrack (Irish "báirín breac"). This is a light fruit cake which has a plain ring placed inside it before it is baked. It is said that whoever finds this ring will find his or her true love during the following year. This sounds a lot like the King Cake used in New Orleans.

Other foods associated with Halloween include:
candy corn
bonfire toffee (in the UK)
Toffee Apple (in Australia and Scotland, instead of "Candy Apples")
hot apple cider
roasted or popped corn
roasted pumpkin seeds
pumpkin pie
"fun-sized" or individually wrapped pieces of small candy, typically in Halloween colors of orange, and brown/black.
novelty candy shaped like skulls, pumpkins, bats, worms, etc.

Back to Top


How can fathers be sure that their kids aren’t hurt but still make Halloween a fun yet safe experience?  Besides doing all the things your kids know how to do after reading their section above, father’s can also:

1. Carve a Creative Pumpkin you might be surprised what you come up with when you start carving. Always remember to draw the design on the pumpkin before your start carving.

2. Make a Great Homemade Costume Sitting down at the table or heading out to the garage to create a Halloween costume can be a great idea for dads and kids. You might be surprised what you can create with cardboard boxes, tape and string.

3. Host a Party you can really spookify food with red and green food coloring. You can make a really good messy eyeball with mashed potatoes.

4. Spookify the Outside of your Home kids love to see decorated homes when they come to the door for candy. Remember to not be TOO scary for the younger children.

5. Take Them Trick or Treating your children will never forget the time you spend with them on this special night. Have your kids read the kid’s corner part of this newsletter so they know what to do for their own safety.

6. Watch a Spooky Movie but be sure you pick a movie that is appropriate for your child’s age. “Bride of Chucky” in not a movie for four year olds!

7. Tell Ghost Stories ghost stories and fairy tales have always been a way for us to deal with our fear of the dark and strange noises. The classics never grow old.

Back to Top


Halloween is a favorite holiday but Halloween traditions take a toll on the environment.


Most masks and disposable costumes are made of plastic and unfortunately, it is hard to recycle the unwanted materials after what may well be a single use. If you are looking for a more environmentally friendly costume option then consider making one. Another option is to rent a costume for the night or to pass it down in the family or to a neighbour. This ensures costumes are used multiple times and don’t end up in the landfill after only one wearing. We gave our son’s “Phantom of the Opera” costume to the little boy across the street and he loved it!


Buy a pumpkin that is pesticide free or organic. Halloween pumpkins are usually grown with a lot a pesticides which may cause rashes on children or adults. Purchase just one pumpkin per household and compost your pumpkins as they take up valuable space in the landfill as well as release greenhouse gases as they decompose. Baking the pumpkin seeds or making a pumpkin pie are also excellent ways to use more of the pumpkin. You can also make a pumpkin soup or a side vegetable for a meal. If your pumpkin has sat out for too long, then cut it up and put it outside for the birds and squirrels to enjoy and for us to watch. I love to see a squirrel try to carry a piece of pumpkin up a tree.


Most of the main Halloween candies contain ingredients to keep them fresh, make them more colourful and to increase their sweetness. Some food additives may cause unexpected allergic reactions if your children eat them. Unfortunately, most neighbours don’t give out fresh baked cookies or candies because of their concern for the safety of children. Most candy makers use high fructose corn syrup to make candy (it’s much cheaper and sweeter than real sugar) which isn’t disgested by your body in the same way as real sugar. Your children also don’t need to eat all the candy they collect. Take most of it to your work space or church and let someone else eat the calories and worry about cavities in their teeth.

Bags for Halloween Candy

Have your kids use bags made from cotton or canvas instead of the single use plastic bags shaped like pumpkins that end up in the trash and landfill. Did you know that each year between 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used around the world and we recycle only 1% of them?


A lot of families throw away their Halloween decorations when Halloween is over. Instead of throwing away decorations try to store them and reuse them again. Another great way to save money is to have a family night of making Halloween decorations. Cut out bats and spiders from black construction paper; make a skeleton out of white construction paper or carve up a pumpkin (you know what you can do with the left over pumpkin). The time you spend together doing the project is just as important as the decorations you make.

Back to Top


The economic crash and its meaning to the families is the big news as I write this latest newsletter. Many people fear that this is the start of a depression that will have the same impact on America as the Great Depression of the 1930s.

We are all being affected by the economy. Most of us are more affected in our daily activities by rising prices of food, gas and clothing but all of us are affected in the long-term. Just this past Sunday while my wife and son were at the local farmer’s market buying fruits, vegetables and flowers and she talked with several merchants about a story she heard on the news the night before. The newsperson stated that many farmers’ markets have seen a marked slowing in sales because more and more families are not spending as much money on fresh produce, which sometimes costs more than the foods, which are not as fresh and are pre-packaged, sold in supermarkets. All of the farmers agreed that sales had dropped and that they were concerned for the upcoming crop planting. Decreasing sales affects the farmers now and for next year’s crops and ultimately whether they will be able to return to the market for another season.
The news reports that we are as a nation are driving less. I can tell you that in the Washington, D.C. area where we live, the rider ship on buses and the subway (our “metro”) has increased approximately 30%. But, at the same time, driving down to Norfolk, VA this past weekend my wife and I commented on how many cars and large vehicles were still on the road and that it didn’t seem to us that people were that concerned about a shortage of gas!

In our ongoing efforts to use up, wear out or don’t buy, my wife is systematically going through every drawer, closet and space throughout our home. We are actively de-cluttering our house to eliminate everything we can by donating things to charities, passing on clothes to the children across the street, or recycling papers, magazine and empty containers and only keeping those special items we can really use or cherish. We are slowly realizing just how much simpler our life can be and are truly enjoying our lovely home with more space to move around in and to feel the flow of the Chi within our home.
In addition to our de-cluttering we are shopping more locally and eating more seasonal foods. I read a great book recently in which the author stated that when they ship fruits and vegetables from overseas we are actually paying to ship frozen water, because many fruits are 80-90% water! Wow, that really makes you think about how much we are spending on fuel and packaging materials for us to have a wide choice of fruits and vegetables. Is it really worth it or can we enjoy equally our local harvest that is picked and used as part of its natural cycle? This is a topic we’ll come back to again and again in future newsletters.

It’s an ongoing process. We don’t want, or need, as much as we did even a few months ago. We have always cherished our special friends and family but we’ve found that as we’ve simplified our lives we have even more time to spend with them.

Take time to simplify your life.

Drive less



Use up, wear out or don’t buy

Buy locally produced fruits and vegetables and eat seasonally

Back to Top


Our free newsletter “The Worm’s Eye View” is uploaded to the computer each month. Each issue includes valuable information for all members of the family as well as the inclusion of the most up-to-date information concerning medical research and treatments.

As a subscriber you will be sent announcements of my new books, CD, and seminars at reduced prices and fees. Sign-up now.

You should read my latest book, “Solving the Weight Loss Puzzle.” Please go to the order page and read part of the first chapter. You will learn a lot from this book why everyone has gained weight and the Three Secrets to normalize your weight.


Doc Grubb Logo
ABOUT | STORE | NEWSLETTER | PRACTICE | PLATE | CALENDAR | RESOURCES | CONTACT | HOME | Suite 217 | Executive Court | 1738 Elton Road | Silver Spring, MD 20903 | 301.434.2424 or 877.362.4872