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Knock, knock, ginger (also known as knock down ginger, knock off ginger, knocky door ginger, ding dong ditch and knock knock run) 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.
This prank goes by many names in different countries. The name knock down ginger or knocky door ginger, used in Britain, comes from a piece of British doggerel:
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The game in various forms is known by different names geographically, including the following:
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.
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." However this is not a legal form of self-defense in most countries.