Taney’s, a costume tradition

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First Posted: 10/9/2014

James O’Hora of Scranton was just 19 years old when he held a dying man in his arms. It was 1974, and Pierce Taney, who owned Taney’s Costume Shop in Scranton, suffered a heart attack.

“My family owned the building where Taney’s Costume Shop was located and I was always there. I happened to be there the day Mr. Taney had a heart attack,” O’Hora said.

While in the grasp of O’Hora’s arms, Taney asked the college freshman to watch over the shop until he returned from the hospital. Taney never made it back to the costume shop as he succumbed to conditions of his heart attack and died. O’Hora kept his promise of watching over the shop, never letting go — still looking after the store 40 years later as the new owner.

“I never thought I would end up doing this. I was a kid at the time. I had no idea what I wanted to do,” O’Hora said.

Four decades later, it is important to O’Hora that the tradition Taney started in 1926 still lives on.

“We’re not exclusively a Halloween store. That’s what people need to realize. We’re a full-functioning costume shop with over 10,000 costumes for sale or rent. We stopped counting how many costumes we have after 10,000. That’s how it started 88 years ago,” O’Hora said.

According to O’Hora, Taney’s Costume Shop got its start in the days of vaudeville when Taney, a vaudeville performer, established a business to provide costumes for shows. The tradition of providing costumes for shows has evolved with the times.

“We provide costumes for television commercials, theatrical performances and theme parties. We have been doing a lot of ‘Great Gatsby’-themed weddings lately,” O’Hora said.

While Halloween ceases to be the main focus of the business, O’Hora values that Taney’s Costume Shop continues to serve as a familiar place to purchase your Halloween costume, passed down by older generations.

“It means a lot to me that there are generations of families coming here. People bringing their own kids when they grow up, remembering this is where they came for their costume. For a while, we were the only game around. Today you can get costumes and costume accessories anywhere, including your local gas station. We pride ourselves on being the only place around with professional makeup to accessorize costumes that are used in television and on the stage,” O’Hora said.

With costumes ranging from every period of time in history to date, Taney’s Costume Shop provides the northeastern Pennsylvania region with a wide variety of costumes for sale and rental that keep up with the times and honor tradition.

Taney’s October hours are Mon. through Fri. from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.