If you've got a series whose main characters are kids, one of the first problems you run into is how to get them into wacky adventures without their parents finding out. So what do the kids do when they want to do something they know their parents won't approve of?
Say they're having a slumber party, of course!
Might take the form of Bob telling his parents he's staying at Charlie's house for the night, while Charlie tells his folks he'll be staying at Alex's, and Alex claims he'll be sleeping over at Bob's. By the end of the episode, the parents may talk to each other and find out that they've been lied to.
- Bakemonogatari: A girl said she was sleeping over at a friend's when really she was off getting supernatural invisible snakes removed.
- In My Love Story!!, Yamato's mother calls friends to ask if she's with them since she hadn't come home yet. As far as her friends knew, Yamato was last seen on a date with her boyfriend Takeo. They assume that Yamato and Takeo are spending the night together and immediately invoke this trope to cover for her.
- She's My Knight: When Nikaido and Miyoshi find Mogami and Ichinose embracing in the gym shed long after school ended, they suggest telling their parents that Ichinose is at Miyoshi's house and Mogami is at Nikaido's.
- In Ultimate Xmen, Kitty is introduced about to attempt this with two friends with each saying they're sleeping over at each other's houses. Her mom isn't fooled and already knew she was trying to sneak out to a boy's pool party.
- In a flashback sequence in Superman storyline The Hunt for Reactron, Kara and Thara want to go on a dangerous camping trip which their parents will never allow. So Thara tells her parents she will be sleeping over at Kara's home (while the latter's parents are away), Kara tinkers with a robot butler so it says they are sleeping in bed if someone calls, and both girls set out towards the Fire Falls.
- The standard excuse used in the series is that everyone is sleeping over at someone else's house. At least until they got the Chee (who can create incredibly advanced holograms) to fill in for them. The main difference is that the Chee are better-behaved than the Animorphs.
- Also, after Tobias got locked into Hawk form, they covered his disappearance by telling his uncle that he's staying with his aunt, and his aunt that he's staying with his uncle, when the two relatives cannot stand each other, and haven't talked in years.
- The Body by Stephen King. The boys claim they're camping in the field behind Vern's house but they're actually going into the woods to look at the body of a missing kid. Also happens in the film version, Stand by Me.
- In The Lancelot Closes At Five, Abby and Hutch tell their parents their sleeping over at each other's house, while they're really spending the night in a model house, the titular Lancelot.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Willow and Buffy explain the concept (also known as "round robin") to Giles in an episode and how they've been using lying to their parents that they are staying at each others' places to free up time and suspicion for some late night slaying and "world saving".
- In "Band Candy" Buffy tells mother Joyce and father-substitute Giles that she's staying with the other so she can sneak off and see Angel. Unfortunately they quickly tumble to this ruse.
- Criminal Minds:
- In the season ten finale, Kate's niece Meg and her friend Markayla do this so that they can sneak out to meet a hot boy they've been chatting with online... who turns out to be a serial-killer-victim trafficking ring. Kate and Markayla's mother's reactions (before the whole trafficking reveal) indicate that they've done this sort of thing before. Or at least that they're Genre Savvy enough to recognize the ploy.
- One episode had a quartet of boys pull this, even leaving their cell phones at the appropriate house, in order to investigate a local legend. Their parents don't find out until no one shows up in the morning.
- On Dexter, Astor, Dexter's stepdaughter, shows up in Miami drunk after running away from her grandparents' house with her friend Olivia, who explains she lied to her mom that she was staying at Astor's in order to go on the trip.
Astor's friend Olivia: My mom thinks I'm staying at Astor's.
Dexter (to Astor): Let me guess, your grandparents think you're staying at Olivia's.
- Kenan & Kel: The two get stuck near the top of the CS Tower, and both realize that their parents won't know where they are since Kel told his parents he was staying over at Kenan's, and Kenan told his parents that he was staying over at Kel's.
- Saved by the Bell:
- One episode has Zack, Slater and Screech having a slumber party over at the former's house in order to sneak out to an over-18 club called "The Attic". Zack's mother eventually finds out what was happening and punished all three of them.
- The "All in the Mall" episode has the gang (sans Jessie) camping out at the mall to buy U2 tickets. While Zack concocts a plan for them to call each other's parents and say they're sleeping over at the other one's house, they would all share a tent in a sporting goods store. Unlike the other time, they weren't caught, but still had to deal with plenty of other hijinks.
- Skins: Pandora's mother is the one parent who seems to be concerned about how drugs and sex will impact her daughter. Pandora gets around this by telling her mother she's staying over at Effy's house every time she's getting up to some bad behavior.
- In a Hey Arnold! episode where Helga got locked in Arnold's closet and couldn't leave without being seen (long story), she called Phoebe on a cell phone and told her to call her parents and tell them Helga was sleeping over at Phoebe's.
- In As Told by Ginger, Carl and Hoodsey lie to their parents that they are staying over each others' houses in order to tag along on the junior high field trip to the mountains for a skiing trip. However, Joanne later calls Lois to remind Hoodsey to take his nasal medicine before going to sleep. Lois is visibly confused since Hoodsey is supposed to be there with Carl until Joanne reveals that she was told that they are sleeping over at her house, thereby giving away to Lois that she had been lied to.