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Trick-or-Treat … Number, Please

Take a number, please.

     In line at the pharmacy? The hospital? The Division of Motor Vehicles?

     No, not quite. Try trick-or-treating at Dr. Ed Moak’s house on South Jackson Street.

     “I’ve always been a real numbers-oriented guy,” Moak said, a trait he’s honed as a doctor, sports announcer and sports writer.

     That probably understates things a bit. Since 2000, Moak has made a point to count every single trick-or-treater who comes knocking on his door.

     He’s noticed a distinct trend.

     “Each succeeding year there seems to be more,” Moak said.

     In 2000, the first year he kept count, Moak ended with a tally of 360. The year after, they came in even greater numbers, reaching almost 500.

     The numbers have only gotten even more dramatic since then.

     “We finally crossed the thousand line about six years ago,” Moak said.

     Last year, his finally tally reached 1,737 trick-or-treaters.

     This included one blistering 30-minute period from 6:45 until 7:15 p.m. in which he had 800 costumed kids come by.

     “That’s about one trick-or-treater once every two seconds,” Moak said.

     That’s consistent with the trends Moak has observed. The majority of the activity takes place between 5 and 8 p.m., with the highest peak of activity between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.

     He typically is able to forecast the crowds pretty accurately when buying candy. Last year, he was only off by 13.

     Things haven’t always been that way.

     In the early years, he had some problems running out of candy, prompting a hurried search in his kitchen for individually wrapped Rice Krispies treats or even Ramen noodles packages.

     But this year he’s stocked up and expecting to get nearly 2,000 trick-or-treaters.

     Why the large numbers? Moak has given some thought to this.

     He believes he at an ideal location. His street is a main conduit into Brookhaven’s downtown area and he’s near the crossroads of South Jackson and Minnesota streets.

     However, there’s more to it than that.

     “It’s grown into a community tradition,” Moak said.

     Yes, people have come to count on stopping by Moak’s house to get not just candy, but a number. Moak has noticed children jockeying in line to be number 500, or 1,000 and so on.

     Two years ago, he didn’t do trick-or-treating at his house because he was out of town at the Ole Miss versus Auburn game in Oxford.

     “My phone stayed constantly busy,” Moak said, referring to members of the community calling and wondering why the lights were dark at the Moak residence.

     He’s been approached by a number of people this year wanting to make sure trick-or-treating will be in swing at his home this year.

     Yes, it appears his house has become something of a draw.

     “I have sensed there are trick-or-treaters or groups who come specifically to my house,” Moak said.