My sister is a former teacher (like me!) and sometimes still gets the itch to create a fun activity for kids. Both of us used to scratch that itch by staging elaborate themed birthday parties for our kids, but our kids have gotten to the age where they like to plan the party activities themselves. I've responded to that by feeling like I've outlived my usefulness. My sister responded by staging Halloween fun for her neighborhood kids during Trick or Treat.
A couple years ago she did some pretty traditional haunted garage stuff. She got a good response and decided to go further the next year. So last year she set up a "Roadkill Cafe" (soylent green is people, ya'll!). It was much more elaborate than the haunted garage and was a huge hit. Interestingly enough, THIS year I noticed the Halloween shops were selling backdrops and props specifically geared towards spooky restaurants/cafes. My sister - always one step ahead.
This year, she decided to stage a Haunted Hospital. Unfortunately, she thought Trick or Treat would be held on Thursday night and booked a flight out of town Friday. Trick or Treat is Friday. So she was left with the choice of abandoning the project in which she'd already invested no small amount of money and creative energy or doing it on Thursday - the night before Trick or Treat.
The stage was set. Games and crafts in the front yard, haunted hospital in the garage. They entered a waiting room complete with gory gruesome patients in need and a nasty Nurse Ratchett type keeping things under control and denying treatment (I was a sort of zombified shuffling crazy person; Lea was the nasty nurse). From there they were led to the operating room where an unsuspecting patient received a surprise amputation. Tom wielded the axe. It was all very creepy. And a lot of fun.