There are so many games from our past that bring back fond memories, but do you remember knock down ginger?

Also known as knock, knock ginger in the UK, this game has some history to it but is still frequently played today.

Here’s everything you need to know if you love having a bit of fun in your spare time.

The History of Knock Down Ginger

Knock, knock ginger, or ding, dong, ditch, as it’s known in the United States, is a prank game that’s said to have originated back in the 19th century.

The most well-known reference to this game can be found in an English poem from 1967:

Ginger, Ginger broke a winder

Hit the winda – crack!

The baker came out to give ‘im a clout

And landed on his back.

The term “knock down” actually dates back to the 18th century when people would knock on a door by pulling on a knock striker, while “ginger” meant to move smartly.

There are also some resources that indicate the game is linked to the early traditional holiday of Nickanan Night, a Cornish feast traditionally held during Shrovetide, most often on the Monday before Lent.

What is Knock Down Ginger aka Ding, Dong, Ditch?

Knock, knock ginger is a prank game that is seen as a rite of passage.

Bored groups of friends or family members would, and still do, take to the streets of their neighbourhoods to knock on random doors before running away.

The idea is to make an unsuspecting neighbour think they have a visitor, only to open the door to an empty front porch.

Never heard of knock down ginger or knock, knock ginger? Here are some other popular names for the game:

  • Knock a door run
  • Knicky, knocky nine doors
  • Knock-a-dolly
  • Knock, knock, zoom, zoom
  • Knock, knock, ditch
  • Ding, dong, ditch
  • Bobby knocking
  • Chappy
  • Doorbell ditch
  • Tok-tokkie

Knock down ginger is played in more countries than you might realise, including South Africa, Germany, Scotland, Belgium, and Argentina.

How to Play Knock, Knock Ginger?

To play knock, knock, ginger, or ding, dong, ditch, you need to have a small group of people as well as a game plan. You can then follow these steps:

Pick an Unsuspecting Neighbour’s House

The house should preferably have a sturdy front door. It also helps to have a general idea of who’s living there. The last thing you want is to end up pranking someone who might be overly angry or even dangerous. Front doors with smart cameras should also be avoided – it takes the fun out of the game.

Plan Your Escape Route

Before you knock on someone’s door, you need to know where you’re going to run afterwards. Remember, the idea is not to get caught. You could also find yourself a hiding spot so that you can enjoy the reaction of the confused person on the other side of the door. Watching the action is what makes it more fun.

Get Knocking!

The final step in this game is to knock or ring a doorbell and make a run for it!

Can You Get Arrested for Ding Dong Ditching?

In general, knock down ginger is a civil and innocent game, so arrests aren’t all too common.

However, technically, there is a chance you could be arrested in the UK under the Town Police Clauses Act 1847. This act is all about trespassing and disturbing the peace.

“Wilfully and wantonly [disturbing] any inhabitant, by pulling or ringing any doorbell, or knocking at any door.”

Violation of this clause can result in up to 14 days of imprisonment.

In most instances, neighbors are more than happy to play along, but there will always be a handful that will call the cops.

In the U.S. there have been several stories of ding, dong, ditching gone wrong. A player in Kentucky ended up in hospital when a man fired his shotgun at him for pranking him.

Another case in California saw an angry man chase down his prankster in his car, grab him and drive him around while threatening him with violence should he ever do it again.

 So, while the possibility of arrest is low, there is always a slight chance you could end up in handcuffs.

Knock It Down – 10 Downing Street

Even though knock, knock ginger is more of a suburban game, it seems that not even politicians are safe from local pranksters.

Knock down ginger can certainly be a lot of fun, but it might not be worth the risk of a potential arrest. If you would prefer to have some fun without leaving your home, why not opt for a round of low volatility slots? You can play them online and the risk is a little more manageable too.

Categories: Street Games