Correction: a previous version of this article used incorrect names for Pool and Funk.

Regular shoppers at The Department Store on Main Street in Brookneal may be pleasantly surprised by the store’s newest window decorations: pumpkins painted by local elementary school students.

Store manager Brenda Pool said she and Jodie Funk, a vendor in the store, came up with the idea together. They contacted Brookneal Elementary School, and the school agreed to have students decorate pumpkins to put in the store’s windows.

“I just think they’re so creative,” Pool said.

Pool said all of Brookneal Elementary School participated. She said each of the school’s 27 classes picked a book, and designed a pumpkin based on it. Pumpkin designs ranged from Wilbur and Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web to the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters. Pool said she was pleasantly surprised when she saw the designs were painted, rather than carved, onto each pumpkin.

“I mean I wasn't even thinking of this, I was thinking of carving a pumpkin,” Pool said. “But this is a whole new idea and I love it.”

Pool and Funk finished placing the pumpkins in the Department Store’s windows on Friday, October 16. She said she thinks students will be excited to stop by the store and see their work on display, and that it was a good project for everyone involved.

“The principal was really excited about it,” Pool said.

Pool also said she may do something in the spring and have local children decorate something besides pumpkins, though does not have any definite plans yet. Pool said she thinks both students and administrative staff alike were happy to participate.

“The kids had a ball,” Pool said.