Pumpkin kids add to fall feel in Columbiana

Published 8:10 am Tuesday, October 5, 2021

By SASHA JOHNS | Community Columnist

It was 10 years ago when Leigh Langley, owner of the Columbiana Barber Shop on Main Street, was struck with inspiration while on a trip to a small town outside of Atlanta.

In the town square was a display of scarecrows dressed like regular people, and Langley knew right away she wanted to bring her own version of that idea to Columbiana.

She came home and got to work right away, making smaller, kid-sized versions that she created in a way that allowed for more natural and less stiff poses than that of regular scarecrows.

That year, 2011, she made 30 different “pumpkin kids” that she placed around the charming historic Main Street area in Columbiana.

The town folk still occasionally talked about the pumpkin kids for years, asking when she’d do them again, so this year, with the help of her friends Linda Cook and Diane Moore, Langley decided to bring the Pumpkin Kids back to Columbiana one more time.

“This will be the last time I’m able to make them due to pain in my hands,” Leigh said.

She does, however, plan to store and reuse the 41 pumpkin kids the ladies made this year.

Each “P.K.” has its own individual personality. The faces are hand-painted onto craft pumpkins that will hold up to weather and time, and each outfit, many of which were saved from the first class of P.K.s 10 years ago, was carefully picked out to convey the personality of each pumpkin kid.

There are even a few “Columbiana famous” pumpkin kids around town, including a sheriff, the famous Jim Davis of Davis Drugs and a very special tribute to the late George Bentley that can be found in the window of Rux Carter Insurance near the intersection of Main Street and Depot Street.

“We even have a barber in front of the second-best barber in town down the street from my shop,” Langley said with a laugh. It’s all in fun, as she and the other barber are actually good friends.

There is also one permanent pumpkin kid at Busy Hands framing in the Corner Shops that has been there since the original round 10 years ago.

Columbiana retail pioneer, Sonya Leftkovits, stands proudly in Linda Cook’s framing shop, watching over Columbiana as she always has.

Leftkovits was Cook’s mentor when she first opened her shop in Columbiana more than 30 years ago.

“Sonya’s always with me,” Cook said.

When asked what the three ladies hoped the pumpkin kids do for Columbiana, Cook spoke up and said, “I love seeing the young mothers with their small children coming down Main Street to visit each P.K. Since we put them out, we’ve seen more and more visitors, and we hope those visitors turn into business for our local shop owners around the Main Street area.”

The pumpkin of Columbiana will be all around town until Oct. 29, so be sure to stop by and visit them before it is too late.