"Hey, guess what? Mom and Dad are leaving on DATE NIGHT!!!!"
This was cause for rejoicing indeed, from both parents and children. Mom and Dad were happy because they could go out to eat without the distractions inherent to a table-full of children; the children, because they got the house to themselves and thus attempt feats of death-defying stupidity that would have definitely killed them should Mom and Dad have been home to see what they were doing. Also, we could throw noodles at each other during dinner.
The night started at 4:30, usually. Dad would announce the departure and get into the car to wait for Mom. 30 minutes later, Mom would usually be ready, and after giving us a list of things that would potentially kill us that we should avoid, she joined Dad in the car. (The list ranged from running to answering the door--Mom was convinced that as soon as she left, someone would try to kill or kidnap us--which meant that had we followed the instructions to the letter, we would not have been able to stand up and leave the living room where the instructions were given.)
After they left, we would sit in the middle of the floor like model children, waiting the inevitable return of Mom 2-5 minutes later because she'd forgotten her purse. As soon as the door closed behind her for the second time, we would creep to the windows and watch Dad drive the car out the driveway at Warp Factor 10 because they had a dinner reservation in 10 minutes and they had 20 minutes to drive. After that, all heck would break loose in the house. Hey, the parents were gone!!!
After about ten to fifteen minutes of running around cheering and screaming our lungs out, Quill and I would assume our roles as the eldest two in the family and the Head Babysitters and gather the younger two for a quick confab. Back when Quill and I first started babysitting ourselves at the young and impressionable age of 10 and 12, respectively, Mom impressed upon us the importance of opening the door to absolutely NO ONE UNLESS WE WISHED TO BE KILLED, KIDNAPPED, AND TORTURED (not necessarily in that order). She revised the rule slightly after we refused to unlock the house for the short-sighted parental unit, allowing us to let them in before they became the cause of our destruction.
They weren't very specific. Don't blame US.
The general debriefing Quill and I gave the younger set went something like this. In the event of someone knocking, ringing the doorbell or (if we were especially alert, which we usually weren't) seeing a car drive down the driveway, we would immediately drop flat, be extremely quiet, and carry out our assigned roles. Squirrel, as the youngest, would immediately sneak downstairs to grab the cordless phone. Nemesis, as my assistant, would grab half the knives out of the knife block in the kitchen (only the small ones, though). Quill would snatch the emergency numbers off the bulletin board and begin punching one of them into the phone just in case, and I would collect all the BIG knives and prepare an ambush in the basement stairs while the other three began prepping one of the downstairs windows for a speedy exit by removing the screen. The theory was that when someone broke in, they would hit my ambush and be distracted while Quill placed an emergency call as we fled out the back window to a hiding place in the woods.
Although why someone would want to drive all the way out to the country, choose the second-to-last driveway on our road, drive up to our house, and kidnap a bunch of hyperactive kids toting obscene amounts of cutlery, I have no idea. Somehow, that thought never crossed our minds.
After the review of "The Plan," we would adjourn for a game...sometimes freeze tag, sometimes regular tag, sometimes Nerf Wars with modified guns--throwing knives around would probably have been safer in that last instance, as some of us (me) liked super-powered weaponry and took great care in making sure the guns were kept in shape and able to put someone's eye out at 50 feet. After that, Quill and I would make dinner, usually spaghetti or pizza, and attempt to keep conflagrations to a minimum.
After dinner and the food fight, we would scrub the walls and ceiling and retire to the basement with gargantuan amounts of dessert, the end result being that at the end of the movie we selected, we would have ingested enough sugar to give a hummingbird a heart attack. Sometimes we vibrated straight out of the visible spectrum, which usually meant that after a rowdy game of Tag in the Dark, I would be called upon to Spackle walls before Mom and Dad came back. An occasional rearranging of furniture to hide chocolate sauce stains was sometimes necessary, too.
After Quill and I ushered the younger set to bed, we would settle down for a game of Slamwich, smacking each other's hands as hard as possible and inventing greater and consecutively more gory fates for the next sibling who dares to step a foot out of bed THIS MEANS YOU NEMESIS GET YOUR KIESTER BACK IN BED OR...
By the time the parental unit got home, Quill and I were combating the strange combination of sleep deprivation and sugar overload, causing us to writhe in paroxysms of laughter over fairly stupid things. Payment was promptly demanded of Mom, as we discovered she was more generous than Dad fairly quickly, and then beat a hasty retreat to bed before they could discover any damages.
I usually had to sneak back upstairs at midnight to return to the kitchen the knife I'd hidden under my bed...a fate worse than kidnapping awaited the youngster discovered to be playing with Mom's good kitchen knives. For some reason, "defense against kidnapping" didn't hold up as valid in the Parental Court of Inquiry.