Three years ago, I told my son, Nicholas, that he could be anything he wanted for Halloween. All he had to do was show me a picture of the character he wanted to be and I would make the costume for him. Being a huge fan of Lego, Nicholas chose to be a Lego Bionicle character. And, I have been making different Bionicle characters for him ever since.

This year, Nicholas chose a new character with “special edition” armor called Toa Lewa. The character comes as part of a building set called Axalara T9. These new Lego characters and building pieces are far more intricate than any of the Lego sets that I owned as a kid.

The costume itself is made from a sheet of 3/4″ extruded polystyrene foamboard (available in 4′ x 8′ sheets) and painted with a non-toxic washable kids’ paint (after all, it is a kid’s costume). Although I used sandpaper to make the various shapes and details, a Dremel kit would no doubt have worked far better. I used a water-based primer to coat the polystyrene before painting it in order to improve the cohesion of the kids’ paint and because solvent-based paints dissolved the polystyrene very quickly, like acid (I found this out the hard way). The entire project is coated with a non-toxic sealant in case of rain (In Vancouver, it almost always rains on Halloween). I increased the size of the eye holes to maximize my son’s field of view. The whole project cost me approximately $25.00 and left me with enough remaining material to make another similar costume or costumes.

If you don’t know what Bionicles are, I invite you to check out the pictures on Lego’s website ( For this character, I simply typed in “Axalara T9″. If you have kids, then you probably already know about Lego’s new toy lines.