Review: MAKE 3rd Annual Kingston Halloween ’Spooktacular’ Night Market

One cold and crisp autumn evening, I trekked down to Kingston-on-Thames to enjoy a Halloween-themed Make Night Market. Although the crisp night soon turned damp, my enthusiasm wasn’t dampened once I walked into the market brimming with life, delicious smells, and costumes aplenty.


Alistair Turnham, the bearded, bespectacled and extremely wet head honcho of the evening, gave us a tour of market. He was an engaging and warm presence, telling us about the market all while cracking jokes, talking to punters and keeping the vendors spirits high and well-stocked.


He gave us a couple of delicious locally brewed beers to wet our whistles as he told us the story of the night market. While the beers did dull my senses slightly, it was an fascinating story. He wanted to create a space where families could come and do something together outside of their living rooms. He bemoaned that once the sun went down, the UK offers very little outside the pub and restaurants for places to socialise. Inspired by the night markets of Asia, he and a friend started London’s original night market experience, The StockMKT in 2011. Wanting to take it to the next level in 2015 he launched his own project, MAKE Night Markets, to build on the foundations laid down over the previous four years. While the steady rain did make a exceedingly tactile point as to why Britons flee for the relative dryness of the indoors, the fact is that I did see many families all hanging out together and having a good time. Sure the booze was flowing, mostly into my own face, but there was a very pleasant and welcoming atmosphere throughout the market.


The Halloween theme also gave it an even more unique feel. There were students from the local colleges and uni’s running stalls and activities throughout the fair. These ranged from face painting, to splat the rat, to a charming group of witches who offered to brew a special spell for the low low price of 50p. There was also a band filling the air with live music, which is always a bonus but even more so when the bassist is a skeleton and the keyboardist is is sweating in his Dracula cape and fright makeup.


The interior of the market sold a variety of knickknacks and goods. Artisanal booze, beeswax candles, a variety of authentic and original bits and bobs.


We sampled some of the food served at the market. Rather than go for your typical burger or, god forbid, anything with ‘pulled pork’ in the title, we sprung for the Indonesian food stand. I can’t say I’ve had much experience with it but renDANG was that some good food. Although I do hope the chef’s choice of clothes was a costume, and not Sweeney Todd turn of events. I washed down the rendang with some freshly made churros because, hey what’s scarier than the spectre of obesity?


It rained steadily through the night and as it got later the band packed up and the stalls slowly started to gather up their unsold stuff. But it had the feel of a good party that nobody wanted to end. There were still revellers dancing in the centre of the market when I called it a night. The Make Night Market is not some social project or experiment with earnest parents dragging their kids to have quality family time, it is simply a lot of a fun with good food and a great atmosphere.

Twitter: @MAKEmarkets

Facebook: /makemarkets