Columbiana Beautification Board to host Midnight Café

Published 1:01 pm Wednesday, September 14, 2022

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By SASHA JOHNS | Special to the Reporter

COLUMBIANA – The Midnight Café will come back to Columbiana this fall. In the fall of 2018, local business owner Leigh Ann Langley hosted this local event publicly for the first time. Previously it had been something only the students of gifted resources teacher Martha Bentley, had the privilege of attending.

Bentley, for years, had been teaching a mystery unit for her gifted students every few years, and in the beginning of offering the curriculum, she was looking for a way to motivate her students to strive for excellence in writing their own mysteries. This resulted in an elegant but spooky event called the Midnight Café.

“Think of it as a fancy party, but with spooky decorations and all the hosts dressed up,” Langley said. “It’s age-appropriately scary and delightfully fun for children about three years old up to about age twelve, so it won’t be too scary for anyone.”

Bentley, with the help of her long-time friend Langley, who always seemed to have decorations for every occasion, transformed her classroom into a spooky café where parents came to enjoy decorative snacks and hear the students read their stories in front of a live audience.

Langley, a lover of all things spooky herself, eventually saw the opportunity to take the idea to the local community by partnering with a local restaurant to use a space where guests could come to enjoy an age-appropriate spooky experience and have fun.

The event has not been held since that inaugural year, but this year, with the help of the Columbiana Beautification Board, it is back and will be held at the Grande Hall at Old Mill Square. For a $10 ticket on Saturday, Oct. 8, guests will enjoy a buffet of spooky snacks, games, face painting, fun music, spooky hosts and more from 2-4 p.m.

The partnership with the Beautification Board is new for the event. This gives Langley the extra hands she needs to pull off the event, and will also benefit beautification efforts for the city of Columbiana.

Beautification Board chair Lisa Strickland Davis said that the goal of the Beautification Board is to bring the community together with events that benefit the local children, much like the Easter Bunny Tea Party does in the spring.

“It will be a beautiful and magical event that is unique to our community, and it benefits our city too in the long run,” she said.

Guests are encouraged to wear costumes. The $10 tickets for both young and old can be purchased from any Beautification Board member, or through messaging the Beautification Board on Facebook. Interested parties can also email board chair Lisa Strickland Davis at or by contacting her at 205-368-6657.