Jack and the Beanstalk Costume

A paper-bag vest and a jaunty cap transform your little ruffian into a giant-slayer. Cardboard tubes are the base for his homemade stalk.
Thayer Allyson Gowdy

What You'll Need

  • 2 sturdy cardboard gift-wrap tubes
  • Duct tape
  • Green paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Green crepe-paper streamers
  • Double-stick tape
  • Scissors
  • Green cardstock
  • Hot-glue gun and glue sticks
  • Pencil
  • Small pasta or cereal box
  • White tissue paper
  • Colored paper
  • 2 brown-paper grocery bags
  • Hole punch
  • Feather template
  • Bright-colored paper
  • Elastic string
  • Optional: gold paper, black marker

Make It

Beanstalk and Castle

  1. Duct-tape together two cardboard tubes, paint green, and let dry. Wrap with green crepe-paper streamers; secure with double-stick tape.
  2. Cut out leaves of various sizes from green cardstock; attach with hot glue. Cut 1/4"-wide strips of green cardstock and wind around a pencil to create curly tendrils; hot-glue to stalk.
  3. Duct-tape pasta or cereal box shut, and cut hole in bottom just large enough to accommodate cardboard-tube stalk. Hot-glue box to top of stalk, inserting tube into box.
  4. Wrap box in colored paper with rectangles cut from one edge to resemble a castle top. Create one large and two small paper cylinders from the same-color paper and glue to sides and top of box to make the tower roofs.
  5. Create one large circle (approximately 10") and two small circles (approximately 4 1/2"). Make a cut in each from exterior of circle directly to center. Roll each into a cone shape and secure with tape. Hot-glue cone roof pieces to castle towers.
  6. Clouds: Crumple and glue sheets of white tissue paper to sides of castle.


  1. Cut a straight line to form an opening at front center of bag. Continue cutting into folded bottom of bag to create an opening for neck/head. Cut armholes on sides. Gently crumple vest to make paper more pliable.
  2. Fold corners closest to neck opening to create collar. Fold back the front center of vest approximately 1 1/2". Punch holes through folded-back sides of vest.
  3. To make laces, tightly twist two 40" lengths of streamers together.
  4. Starting at vest bottom, thread lace through vest holes; tie in a bow at top.
  5. Optional: Accessorize front of vest with paper pockets and fill pockets with gold-paper coins. Draw details like stitching and buttonholes.


  1. Cut a 14"x 18" square from a paper bag. Fold in half widthwise to form a 6"x 14" rectangle. With folded edge at top, fold upper left and right corners in toward center of paper, creating a triangle shape.
  2. Fold up edge at bottom approximately 1 1/2" on both sides to create a hat shape.
  3. Download, print, and cut out our feather template. Trace onto colored paper and cut out feather; tuck into hat and secure with hot glue.
  4. Punch a hole on each side of hat and thread elastic through to create a chin strap.

Originally published in the October 2015 issue of Parents magazine.

Parents Magazine


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