Knock, Knock, Ginger

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Knock, knock, ginger (also known as knock down ginger, ding dong ditch and numerous variants) is a prank or game dating back to 19th-century England, or possibly the earlier Cornish traditional holiday of Nickanan Night.[dubious ] The game is played by children in many cultures. It involves knocking on the front door (or ringing the doorbell) of a victim, then running away before the door can be answered.[1]

The name knock down ginger or knocky door ginger, used in Britain, comes from a British poem:

Ginger, Ginger broke a winder
Hit the winda - crack!
The baker came out to give 'im a clout
And landed on his back.[citation needed]

Name variations[edit]

The game in various forms is known by different names geographically, including the following:

  • Knock and run[4]


A variant involves placing animal faeces in newspaper on the victim's doorstep, setting it alight, then ringing the doorbell and making a getaway. An unsuspecting victim may choose to use their foot to extinguish the small blaze.


Victims of this prank are not likely to call the police, but if they decide to, the "doorbell ditcher" can face charges of trespassing and disturbing the peace. In the United Kingdom, trespassing is a civil matter rather than a criminal one, and the police will not compile a case for a victim. However, under the Town Police Clauses Act 1847, it is a criminal offence to "wilfully and wantonly disturb any inhabitant, by pulling or ringing any door bell, or knocking at any door" punishable with up to 14 days' imprisonment.[11][12]

Michael Bishop, a 56-year-old man in Louisville, Kentucky, shot at a group of children playing ding dong ditch at his house on 13 June 2011. A 12-year-old boy was hit in the back with a shotgun blast and "the boy was taken to Kosair Children's Hospital with what police call non-life-threatening injuries". The shooter was charged with attempted murder.[2] On December 8, 2015, his final day in office, outgoing Kentucky governor Steve Beshear issued 197 pardons,[13] including a pardon for Michael Bishop.[14]

A 14-year-old Oklahoma teenager, Cole Peyton, was shot in back and arm while playing "ding dong ditch" in the early hours of New Year’s Day of 2016.[15][16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren. Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  2. ^ a b Daniel Kemp (2011-06-14). "Police: Boy Playing Ding-Dong Ditch Shot In Back". Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  3. ^ Black, Claire. "Interview: Sue Lawrence, home cook". The Scotsman. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  4. ^ [1] Knock and Run, BBC
  5. ^ "Cherry-knocking turns to theft of OAPs' doorbells". Gloucestershire Echo. 5 June 2012. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Country Doctor. Constable & Robinson Ltd. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "nicky nicky nine doors",, Oakland, CA, United States, retrieved 2011-01-16 
  8. ^ Clough, Alexandra (23 February 2010). "Family of boy shot and killed during ring-and-run prank near Boca may never see settlement after shooter files bankruptcy". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  9. ^ Belletje trekken, Retrieved 2015-11-02[better source needed]
  10. ^ ""Knock and nash" nuisance". 2008-02-29. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  11. ^ "Town Police Clauses Act 1847". Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  12. ^ Forsyth County, Georgia, USA is very strict on trespassing, and Disturbing the Peace and "Ding Dong Ditch" (their version of this) is considered a crime in that county, and the fine is $100.
  13. ^ "Gov. Beshear's 197 pardons include Louisville man charged with shooting 12-year-old boy in 2011". 2015-12-08. Retrieved 2015-12-09. 
  14. ^ "Victim's family 'outraged' after man who shot 12-year-old boy is pardoned". 2015-12-08. Retrieved 2015-12-09. 
  15. ^ US teen shot in the back after playing ‘Ding Dong Ditch’
  16. ^ Oklahoma honor student, 14, shot in the back while playing ‘ding dong ditch’