Knock Down Ginger

For 1 or more players

How do you play Knock Down Ginger?

These are the rules of playing Knock Down Ginger.

Knock Down Ginger and it's alternative named variations has been played since there were front doors to play it on.  Usually carried out in the hours of darkness, the aim is to ring a doorbell or knock loudly on a door, as though very urgent, and run away as fast as possible. 

To make this game even more exciting you can play variations such as after knocking you hide as close to the door as possible, in shrubs or behind a tree, behind the owners gate or just around the corner.

The test comes when you try a second time on the same door, giving the owner a few moments to settle down in front of their TV, the quicker you do this the more exciting it can be.

See also Knock'N'Run

The Origins

The origin of knock down ginger came from council estates because all the doors were stained a ginger colour, hence knock down ginger.  Posted by: richard hicks

Other Rules

Knock on the door. Don't run away. Ask for a glass of water. You can make up stories if the occupant needs convincing. If they give you a galss of water then ask for a biscuit. If you get that ask for more until they get annoyed and close the door on you. The more you get the better your score. You are not allowed to go in and must remain on the doorstep eating and drinking. Years after I used to play it a kid came to the door and did the same thing. I couldn't believe it. We kept it up while his friends watch with disbelief from someones garden across the road. His name was Wayne I think.
Posted by Chris from Surrey - England

Knock on the door and stand in the garden as if you were gnomes and stay still, and the first person to run has to knock on the next door
Posted by Anon

Tie fishing line to the knocker run and hide and pull the line and watch the person come out then pull it again if you dare.
You can tie three knockers at a time and hide then pull so three doors knock at the same time.
Posted by Anon

And the perpetual motion version where you tie two knockers together and knock on the first door, when they close their door the other knocker knocks ad infinitum.
Posted by David - Essex

Tie cotton or fishing rope to a door knocker and hide behind the car or bush and pull about 15 times and they come to the door like "wtf" and your sitting there laughing your head off. and when they shut the door do it again!
Posted by: charlz

We used to know this game as "Red Apple" when we were growing up in the 80's in Walsall, West Midlands, UK
Posted by Lisa James

Other Names

Cherry Knocking
Ding Dong Ditch : (USA)
Doorbell Ditch
Knock and Nash : (Nash is north England slang for run)
Knock and Run
knock a door run
Nicky-Knicky Nine-Doors : (From Canada)
Nicky-Knocky Nine-Doors
Nicky Knocky Hide Door
Thunder and Lightning
Knocky ido : Posted by Lee Horsman from Middlesborough
Rat-atat-Ginger : Posted by Andy Moore from Wales
Chap door Runaway : Posted by Phil Dawson from Scotland
klingelputz : Germany
Nick-nack : Cathal from Dublin
Bobby knocking
Belletje trek : (Flemish) Posted by: edmee boyen
Cotton knocking : Posted by: charlz
Knick Knock Nanny : Posted by: Tony
Postman's Knock : (Australian) Posted by: Catherine
Knock Knock Ginger
Red Apple : (Walsall, West Midlands, UK) Posted by Lisa James
Ring-a-bell-scoosh : Posted by Belinda
Knock off Ginger : (Hull) Posted by Pam

Comment 22

John from Sheffield
John from Sheffield
2017-01-07 11:26:32
Only ever heard of 'knock down ginger' on TV - that's why I googled it - it's perhaps a posh southern version. 

Back around 1960 I lived on a large council estate in Sheffield where we used to refer to 'knock-and-run' as 'Thunder and Lightning' - we'd knock like thunder and run like lightening. 

My mate, Andy, came up with a more sinister version where he would steal eggs from his mother's pantry.  One of our number, a foolhardy young lad called Jim, would be persuaded to knock on someone's door then hide in their garden.  When the 'victim' came to the door we would pelt them with eggs - then run.  Jim would make good his escape when things quietened down.

This version didn't last too long as Andy's mother read the riot act about the disappearing eggs - if kids did that to me I'd have a siezure.

2017-01-02 15:39:07
We use to tie cotton thread to the door knocker and then tie the other end to the front door on the opposite side of the road.  Wait for a car drive past and break the cotton and then laugh in hysterics when both owners open the door and look at each other.
2016-06-03 09:52:01
I grew up in Southampton and everyone referred to it as 'knock and run'.  I've since moved to Hertfordshire for work and everyone says it's called 'knock down ginger' and are confused by the name I give it! Knock and run explains the entire premise, knock down ginger makes no sense.
Cool dude
Cool dude
2012-01-16 22:32:08
Me and my freind play it lots.  We call it knock n nash.  We choose doors with door bells because it is louder and then we hide as close to the door as possible.  Just dont get caught.
Eh Ah Ken
Eh Ah Ken
2012-01-02 05:41:25
In fife, in scotland we called it simply "Chap, Door, Run".

Anyone who would hurt kids for playing this is a muppet.  We certainly weren't 'Chavs'.  We were just kids.  And it's a totally harmless game.

2011-11-23 18:56:13
Me n my mates were playin last night at like half 8 n my mate calls it gardern noming coz he just lays on the grass wen we nok n the person at the door goes crazy lol

Sue from London
Sue from London
2011-10-13 13:57:25
Knock Down Ginger was the funniest game ever when I was a kid - I loved it!
b jones
b jones
2011-04-11 09:19:26
as a kid we lived in old houses that were close together,we played several versions of knock down ginger ,teddy knock nock was one,white horse kick was another.

One person was blindfolded and than led to a front door, of course you were led to the door of the angriest person you knew, you were placed in front of the door with your back to it, then your mates would hide (usually around the corner) and shout "white horse kick", you had to kick the door a hard as you could, rip off the blindfold and run like hell. 

Another was to tie two knockers together and watch them struggle to open the door, the scary bit was to get your strings back as quick as you could because they would be waiting behind the door, as you can guess most of my contemporaries were very good athletes in the following years.

The Font
The Font
2011-01-31 13:23:32
My grandad (born in 1908) told me he (and his mates) used to tie a thread from one door-knocker to the next in a zigzag pattern down the street.  Then they'd knock on the first door.  When that was opened it would pull the next knocker, breaking the thread and knocking on the second door.  This would continue all the way down the street.
2010-12-21 22:55:33
hi im 10, i come from hackney in london, england and me and my friends do knock down ginger all the time sometimes if we get caught we spin some story about a boy called joey and we have to find him desperately then we say have you seen him? and they say no.  its really funny i do it with my cosins aswell, then we go to other houses except the houses with old people in them.  its great fun and i hope to enjoy many more years of knock down ginger.
2010-11-01 07:01:22
knock down ginger is so fun.  me and a group of friends played it yesterday on Halloween on the houses that didn't have any pumpkins.  ha ha
Adrian Rogers
Adrian Rogers
2010-05-24 07:57:35
Loved this game.  It's great thinking back on all the things we used to get up to.  Although we were probably annoying little pests to the homeowners, at least we weren't hurting anybody or taking drugs.  I wish I could go back and do it all over again.
2010-04-20 21:44:54
We called it 'Knock and Bolt'.  'Bolt' being slang for 'run' I live in Buckinghamshire, England
2010-04-14 10:22:40
I lived in central hull,and we called it knock "off" ginger, just the slight variation.
Essex gal
Essex gal
2010-03-22 20:30:17
knock down ginger was ma fave game eva, i lived and still living on a council estate in essex and we call it "knock-down-ginger" the best game ever. 

:) xxx

2009-08-24 22:43:45
Knock down ginger does seem to be the most common known.  However, on our estate in the East of England it was known as 'Cherry Knocking' and glad to see it mentioned, but on the neighbouring estate where my uncle lived, it was known as 'tip-it and run.' Was great fun though, whatever it was called :)
Chris Jubb
Chris Jubb
2009-08-17 15:14:19
We played this prank long before "Ginger doorways on Council Estates" ...  my father admitted to playing ...  knock down Ginger ...  The effort not to laugh when you were hiding close by was side splitting!
Andy Sword
Andy Sword
2009-04-21 10:40:40
I'm from Dundee, Scotland. 

As a kid, we called this game 'chickenelly.'

Maybe because after you chapped the door, you'd run like a spooked chicken!

Or perhaps because any child refusing to play was the chickenelly.

james elson
james elson
2009-04-13 18:21:55
this game is also callede red apple
2009-02-06 12:09:05
A name to add to your alternative names listing is Ring-a-bell-scoosh (no idea how you spell it though)
Ben Form Leeds England
Ben Form Leeds England
2008-10-27 16:32:12
I am from Leeds, and am glad to see bobby knocking on the list, i came onto the site to see if it had an explantion why it was so named, but can only imagine as bobby (policeman) always knock hard and loud?? possibly??
Laura from Vancouver Canada
Laura from Vancouver Canada
2007-02-15 03:51:00
I am a Canadian and told my British husband that when I was a kid we used to play Nicky Nicky Nine Door.  He said, "you mean Knock Down Ginger." We then bantered back and forth whose mother, Nan, and so on, played which game and what the rightful name is.  So we decided to google it, and this is what we found.  We were both right! Peace again.

My husband loved to see the names of all these British games here.  We'll teach them to our kids, eh? =)

Thanks! Your submission
has been sent!
Error occurred!
Please try again!