Gillette Law Group October 2017

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It’s the most recognizable symbol of Halloween: a bright orange orb, hollowed out, with a glowing visage and a green- stemmed cap. We call him Jack. Carving jack-o’-lanterns has always been one of my favorite Halloween traditions. As a kid, the process was pretty simple. I put newspaper over the table and brought out my tools, a big spoon and a steak knife. I scooped out the guts and then fished out the seeds, which are delicious when roasted. carve out crude shapes, including squares, crescents, and big triangles. Then, I would light it using one of those tiny candles. (Nowadays, people prefer tiny lamps for safety reasons.) Modern-day pumpkin carving can get pretty technical. People drill holes, use surgical saws, and even stage their pumpkins with additional lighting. With “How are your carving skills? We’d love to find out!” such elaborate designs, it’s interesting to note that the humble origins of our favorite Halloween decoration didn’t begin with pumpkins at all. Thanks to archaeology, we know that people have been carving vegetables for about 10,000 years. You can find fossilized carvings of hollowed-out gourds in ancient history museums all over the world, particularly in Europe. Some cultures actually used them as practical lanterns, including the Maori people of Polynesia. These head-shaped lanterns often represented supernatural beings and were thought to ward off evil spirits. In 1820, illustrations and covers of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” used a pumpkin in place of the Headless Horseman’s head, which also added to their spooky reputation. People started to associate them with dead spirits living on Earth. Using the large steak knife, I would

the jack-o’-lantern was born when a man made a deal with the devil to never lose his soul. But when the man lived a bad life and didn’t qualify for heaven after his death, the devil gave him a burning ember as a parting gift, so the man took his light and inhabited a hollow turnip. Not a pumpkin! In fact, most early incarnations were made out of large turnips, which were easily carved.

The name stuck. Jack began to be regularly associated with the

harvest season in general, not just Halloween. It was even considered appropriate decor for Thanksgiving in the early 20th century. The spooky nature of it must have been the reason it eventually became emblematic of Halloween. That brings us to today, when a jack-o’-lanterns can be a creepy face, a worded message, or even the Death Star. I love seeing carvers who think outside the box. How are your carving skills? We’d love to find out! That’s why we’re hosting a Facebook competition for the best jack-o’-lantern. Carve us your best, take a picture, and share on the Gillette Law Group official Facebook page ( Share the post with your friends because the top three posts with the most “likes” will get a gift card for a free turkey on us!

N e x t D o o r Bu

We look forward to seeing what you’ve got!

– Brian Gillette

In 1835, the Dublin Penny Journal published a special Halloween article that told the original legend of “Jack-o’-the-Lantern.” In the legend,

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Keep Your Eyes on the Prize Masks can really bring a costume together, but they can also make it hard for young eyes to see where they’re going. Before trick-or- treaters head out to collect that sweet candy, swap out masks with face paint. It might take a few practice runs, but face paint can be just as cool. Make sure to test for allergic reactions first. Know the Rules of the Road It is important for trick-or-treaters of all ages to know how to behave safely as they walk down the sidewalks. They should always look both ways before crossing the street, never run out between parked cars, and make sure oncoming traffic is completely stopped before they step out into the road. Kids under the age of 12 should be accompanied by an adult, and older children should stick with their friends and never trick or treat alone. Trick-or-treating is a wonderful childhood tradition, and it shouldn’t end in tragedy. Talk to your kids about the risks and make sure they know why these rules are necessary. When you keep safety in mind, your trick-or-treaters can focus on the best part of Halloween: getting the most candy!

You may wonder if trick-or-treating is safe, especially when stories of poisoned Halloween candy circulate every year. These terrifying tales have all been hoaxes, but beyond needlessly frightening parents, these urban legends take attention away from the real danger kids face while trick-or-treating. Safe Kids Worldwide reports that children are twice as likely to be struck by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year. Here’s what you need to remember before sending your little witches and knights out trick-or-treating. Light Up the Night Brightly colored costumes will make your child more visible in the dark. That said, if your ghouls and goblins have their hearts set on being a real creature of the night, flashlights, glow-in-the-dark bracelets, and reflective tape attached to candy bags can help trick- or-treaters remain visible to drivers. Dress for Comfort The cold might not bother Elsa, but your trick-or-treater may not be ready to sing after the sun sets and the temperature drops. Have them wear jackets and gloves as needed and insist on shoes they can walk in. If your little princess is absolutely in love with her high heels, have her wear the pretty, uncomfortable shoes for pictures at the door, then switch into comfy sneakers before hitting the sidewalks.



At Gillette Law Group, one of our key focuses is educating the public. Knowledge is power, and the more power you have over your case, the more power you have over your own destiny. That’s why, earlier this year, Brian was glad to accept a guest slot on Legal Brief, a radio show. Host Ron Broughton hosts the Norfolk- based radio show, and he interviews legal authorities and experts on different types of law. Brian was brought on to discuss Social Security Disability benefits, an area he practices regularly. Ron started off by asking Brian about the relationship between Social Security Disability (SSD) and Social Security retirement programs.


... and more.

You can listen to the interview at: www. If you have questions about any of those topics, give it a listen! Do you know of a group or organization that could benefit from learning more about Social Security disability benefits? Brian is grateful for any opportunity to educate the public about this far-reaching topic. Give us a call to invite him to speak to your group or to schedule an individual consultation.

In the rest of the interview, Brian was able to speak in depth about the following topics:


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You’re Invited to the 2017 Holiday Light Stroll Through the Celebration in Lights

Join your friends at the Gillette Law Group, PLLC, and the Center for Child and Family Services, Inc., for a holiday stroll through the Celebration in Lights in Newport News Park. Walk at your own pace and sing carols, wear funny hats or sweaters, or carry jingle bells. Enjoy the holiday lights from a different perspective. For 17 years, this event has helped fund over 20 community programs, from domestic violence prevention to consumer credit counseling. Transportation to the park is provided at Woodside High School. For tickets and more information, log on to

When: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 Time: 5–7:30 p.m. Where: Newport News Park



Whose life can you change by getting them the help they need? Please don’t hesitate to mention our name to others. We will do our best to help!


• 1 can pumpkin puree • 1 egg • 2 teaspoons baking powder • 1 teaspoon baking soda

• 2 teaspoons cinnamon • 2 cups flour • ½ teaspoon salt • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

• 1 cup sugar • 1 teaspoon vanilla • ½ cup vegetable oil


1. Combine all dry

3. Slowly add dry

6. Scoop cookies onto cookie sheet (use a tablespoon).

ingredients in a medium- sized bowl and mix.

ingredients into the wet ingredients.

2. In a separate large bowl, add in all wet ingredients:

4. Fold in chocolate chips and let batter sit for 20 minutes.

7. Bake for 10 minutes.

egg, vanilla, pumpkin, and oil. Mix until well- combined.

My mother’s schnauzer, Dixie, is ready for Halloween. She’ll do tricks for treats!

5. Preheat oven to 350 F.

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INSIDE this issue

You Don’t Know Jack page 1

Holiday Light Stroll page 3

Keep Your Trick-or- Treaters Safe This Halloween page 2

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies page 3

Crazes of Yesteryear page 4

Brian Talks SSD page 2


“Kilroy Was Here” During World War II, an odd doodle of a bald man peeking over a wall, with the words “Kilroy was here,” appeared scribbled on walls and equipment wherever American servicemen were stationed. Some say German soldiers found “Kilroy was here” on captured American equipment, leading Adolf Hitler to believe Kilroy was the codename of an Allied spy. The connection to GIs was so strong that you can find an engraving of Kilroy on the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. Telephone Booth Stuffing This strange fad truly swept across the globe. In 1959, 25 students from South Africa stuffed themselves into a telephone booth and announced they’d broken a world record. Eager to claim that record for themselves, students across the world began forcing their friends into phone booths. Universities challenged each other’s credibility, and some schools insisted each person’s whole body had to fit inside the booth, while others said someone had to make a phone call. The fad died out within the year, but soon after, people were trying to stuff themselves into Volkswagen cars.

Fidget spinners are the latest craze to sweep the globe. These small, pinwheel-like toys claim to help people channel excess energy, and though their usefulness is questionable, over the past several months, every kid wanted one. But will fidget spinners soon go the way of the flash mob? From planking to Pogs to Pet Rocks, people often become enamored with odd hobbies. Here are a few strange fads that thrilled the world. Flagpole Sitting In ancient times, yogic practitioners and holy men would meditate atop tall columns. When the practice became popular in the 1920s, it was more “test of endurance meets publicity stunt.” Stuntman and former sailor Alvin “Shipwreck” Kelly started the fad when a friend dared him to sit on a flagpole. Old “Shipwreck” lasted over 13 hours, though other avid sitters lasted weeks. One gentleman from Iowa sat on a pole for 51 days and 20 hours. This fad fell out of favor when the nation fell into the Great Depression.

It’s impossible to predict what’s going to be the next big fad, but when it comes, you’ll know. Everyone will be talking about it.

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