With materials shortages, shipping delays, and other supply-chain disruptions it seems like the scariest part of Halloween is finding the right costume. After Halloween celebrations were curbed last year due to the pandemic, more people are ready to get out and celebrate. While many folks feel safer celebrating this year, they’ll have to be creative when it comes to finding the perfect costume. Luckily, Stages in Wheeling is a one-stop shop for unique, handmade costumes that are sure to make a statement. 

Gael Fincham, owner of Stages loves helping customers find the right costume. “One of my favorite things is when someone comes into the shop and isn’t entirely sure what they want,” said Gael. “We’ll start throwing clothes out until something catches their eye and then they try it on and their eyes light up and they say ‘I didn’t know this was what I wanted, and I can’t wait to wear it out.’” Gael explains that customers frequently come in with a few pictures and a general idea of what they want, and leave it up to Gael and her costume consultant Emily Mae to bring their ideas to life.

Stages has been in business for over three decades and they’ve created an impressive collection of costumes through the years. With an inventory of over 20,000 garments, Gael and Emily Mae are confident that they can create the perfect costume for anyone. So whether you’re looking for a Renaissance-era gown, roaring 20s flapper dress, or a Disney-inspired character costume chances are you’ll find it at Stages – and there’s still plenty of time to rent before Halloween this weekend!

  • Stages has plenty of accessories to help complete any costume.

What sets Stages apart from what you’d find at a big box store is the quality craftsmanship of a hand-sewn garment. “Everything we make can be worn as real clothing,” explains costume consultant Emily Mae. “It’s not that thin, tissue paper kind of stuff that you find at other places. This is real cloth, real silk, real wool.” In addition to the quality of the materials, all costumes can be customized on the spot for most shoppers. In fact, many of the costumes are made with extra material so that they can be let out or taken in to accommodate a variety of sizes.

So, what are you waiting for? With Halloween just around the corner, you’ll want to visit Gael and Emily Mae soon to secure a one-of-a-kind costume to celebrate the spookiest day of the year. If you need some inspiration, check out what’s waiting for you at Stages right now:

Character Costumes

In addition to Dorothy and Snow White, Stages offers dozens of character costumes such as Shrek and Cinderella. 


Make it a group costume by having your friends dress up as circus animals. This costume could also easily be restyled to be used as a magician outfit.

Witch and Warlock

Browse through an entire rack of unique witches and wizard capes to find your perfect match!


Show off your West Virginia pride by dressing up as the iconic Mountaineer. 

Colonial Garb

Party like its 1700 in one of the many beautifully-made colonial outfits from Stages.

If you’d like to rent a costume, you can get everything you need for just $72 – this includes your costume, alterations, and any extra accessories. You can visit Stages at 1063 Main Street Mondays – Fridays from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Alex Panas is the Communications and Development Manager at Wheeling Heritage. She earned an undergraduate degree in health communication from Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, and a master of arts in communication studies from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Since moving back to the Ohio Valley, Alex has been involved in a variety of organizations dedicated to revitalizing Wheeling, including the Wheeling Young Preservationists, Generation Wheeling and the United Way. A self-proclaimed cat lady, Alex lives in St. Clairsville with her two cats, Zoey and Millie, and her husband, Aaron Moore.

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