How do I get started?

Organising a Let’s Makan session is easy.
Here are 3 simple steps to get you started:

1. Round up a few of your neighbours and see if they are keen on the idea.

2. Decide on the date and location & drop us a note here.

3. Coordinate the menu. It’s great if everyone can bring something, whether home-cooked specialties or favourites from the nearby hawker centre.

And that’s it! You have a Let’s Makan session going.

Find and invite more neighbours if you feel like expanding your session! We have publicity materials such as posters and invitation cards available for your use. Simply visit our website or request it from us.

Scaling up

A Let’s Makan session can be as small or big as you want it to be. A smaller gathering can be no different from planning a casual dinner party. If you are considering a larger-scale session, here are some tips.

Budget

Organising a 'Let’s Makan' session does not have to cost an arm and a leg. But whatever the scale, it is important to work out a budget and how to fund it.

1. Location

Your Let’s Makan session can be held anywhere from someone’s dining room to an entire closed street. While a huge street party would certainly be great, road closure may not be an option. You may consider the many alternative free or low-cost venues in the neighbourhood. This could be a function room, a picnic at your nearby park or simply a floor party at your block. If you’re staying in landed properties, a garden party at one of the houses is a great option. For condominium-dwellers, you can talk to your estate management office to see if they’ll be willing to help. But whatever your choice, be sure to seek permission from the relevant management or authorities way in advance.

2. Spreading the word

There are many ways to publicise your session that don’t involve spending a lot of money. Plan how much you want to spend on publicity, especially for bigger sessions. Word-of-mouth, email, text messages, and social media such as setting up a Facebook group or blog hardly cost a thing. You can also make use of our free publicity resources such as posters and invitation cards, available on the Downloads page.

3. Food and Logistics

You may like to arrange for a caterer to prepare the food and everyone can chip in to pay for it. Alternatively, get everyone to bring a dish to share so that you can have plenty to go around. With Singapore’s multi-racial community, you’ll get to try food from other ethnic groups as well! This will help to keep the cost down. You can also speak to the food centres or coffeeshops owners around your estate to see if they’d like to sponsor a dish or two.

You’ll also be able to save some money (and have less trash) if everyone brings their own plates and cutlery. Instead of renting tables and chairs, get everyone to bring their own, or it can simply be a ‘cocktail’ style event where everyone can stand around (it’s also more conducive for mingling around and getting to know each other).

The same goes with décor – the more DIY, the more affordable.

Entertainment

Here are some ideas for activities to keep everyone excited and engaged during your session.

1. Go back to the kampung days

An opportunity to relive the kampung days with simple games like hopscotch, five stones, capteh, pick-up-sticks or marbles! You can also have a tikam-tikam corner with simple prizes up for grabs.

2. Indoor games

If you have limited space, you can also have some indoor fun with games like charades, Taboo or even Twister to pit your mind and flexibility against your neighbours. Plenty of laughs guaranteed!

3. Decorate your own cupcakes

Bake some cupcakes, prepare icing cream of various colours and some simple toppings and hold a cupcake decorating session. Prizes for the best-decorated cupcake would be a bonus!

4. Know your own estate

Think of some questions about the estate or neighbourhood that you’re staying in and use it for a Q&A session among the guests! Not only can you break the ice among the participants, you’ll also be surprised at the facts you’ll be able to find about your neighbourhood, especially from those who have lived there a long time.

Decoration ideas

One way to involve and excite everyone is to decorate your ‘Let’s Makan’ session! It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. From simple buntings and table cloths to balloon walls and paper garlands, the possibilities are endless!

Here are some tips:

1. Use recycled materials –

making your own decorations is not only much cheaper, it’s lots more fun too! Every household will have something to contribute; from scraps of fabric for bunting to old cereal boxes for Chinese lanterns.

2. Get everyone involved –

getting creative can be enjoyed by all ages, the more the merrier, and more magnificent the décor!

3. Personalise your block/street –

why not make your decorations reflect who you all are? Your decorations can easily be a celebration of cultural diversity, local traditions or street history.

A few ideas to get you started:
  • Buntings, banners and paper lanterns
  • Street chalk drawings
  • Themed set dressing – silly fancy dress and themes can help break the ice!
  • Front door art – Decorate your front doors with drawings and photos of who lives inside
  • National Day flags
  • Balloon garland

Cleaning up

Instead of hiring professional cleaning companies to undertake the cleaning-up after the session, encourage everyone to clean up after themselves or even bringing their own trash bags. Some guidelines for organising environmentally friendly public events are available on www.publichygienecouncil.sg/community/litter-free-singapore

Other useful information

1. Health and safety guidance

Organising small, private street parties and community events should be simple and things like risk assessments, licences and Health and Safety certificates are not normally required.

Take a common-sense approach to organising your event, as you would a children’s party or seasonal get-together.

Always consider hygiene and food safety. Bear in mind things like cleanliness, food temperatures, storage and keeping the food well covered. Plan for both wet weather and extremes of heat!

It would be good to mention on your publicity posters, leaflets or invites that food will be provided by participants and remind everyone to take responsibility for their own safety. But keep disclaimers cheerful, so you don’t put people off! Ask food contributors to label food ingredients and appoint someone to keep an eye on food safety especially if the weather is hot.

2. Closing the road

If you intend to hold your makan session on a street, you will need to apply to the Traffic Police for a temporary road closure. Processing of your application will take at least 6-8 weeks. If you’re staying on landed property, you’ll also need to seek approval from URA. HDB residents will also be required to get a permit from HDB.