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Ding-Dong-Ditch Distraction

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Is anyone at the door? ...Not anymore!

In a funny gag, Alice knocks on Bob's door or rings Bob's doorbell. But right before he opens the door, Alice runs off! And Bob is just standing there, wondering who the hell that mysterious knocker was. A common children's prank, especially favored by The Prankster, though it's becoming more common for (childish) adults to also use this tactic.

A different, more daring variant would be to knock, hide, and when the other opens the door up, the knocker sneaks right inside; the knocking came in a form of We Need a Distraction. People who use that method aren't caught as easily as running down the road where the victim can clearly see them go.

Has many names, such as Doorbell Ditching, Chicky Melly Chickenelly, Chap Door Run (Away), Knock and Run, Knock Knock Run, Knock-a-Door-Run, Knock Down Ginger, Cherry Knocking, Nicky Nicky Nine Doors, Ring and Run, and Knock and Nash.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Reborn! (2004): In Chapter 7, Lambo rings the doorbell and runs past Tsuna's mother when she opens up in order to sneak inside Tsuna's house.
  • Squid Girl: Ika tries this, but she was interrupted before she could run away, and ended up meeting a new friend.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Dennis the Menace (US), Dennis does this to his babysitter and her boyfriend. The latter two hilariously bonk their heads.
    • Subverted in another strip, where after Joey already rang the doorbell, the lady of the house had already answered the door and he was still on the porch. In the caption, Dennis explains to the woman, "He don't want nothin', lady. He was just supposed to ring it and run!"
  • In a The Far Side strip, a cow does this to her farmer. When he gets out, she's just a typical cow chewing on cud.

    Films — Animation 
  • A variation on this occurs in The Fox and the Hound, where Boomer pecks on Mrs. Tweed's door, as part of Dinky's plan to get her to take in Tod.
  • Monster House: Never do this to the eponymous house; she will eat you.
  • Oliver & Company: Einstein rings the doorbell, while Francis distracts Winston when he answers, allowing Dodger and the others to sneak in to find Oliver.
  • Toy Story:
    • In the first film, Sid's toys do this in order to get Scud (the dog) out of the house.
    • In Toy Story 3, an interesting variant occurs; the toys are inside the box with Rex clutching Andy's phone, and they cause it to ring so Andy can finally open the toy box again. Andy assumes its his sister, Molly, Prank Calling him.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Dennis the Menace (1993), Dennis plays this trick on his babysitters, Mickey and Polly when they try to kiss each other. Eventually, Mickey gets so upset over this that he tapes a thumbtack over the doorbell. When Mr. Wilson comes over to investigate the vacuum that had earlier shot paint into his chicken dinner, he rings the doorbell, pricks his thumb on the thumbtack, and Mickey and Polly dump water and flour on him.
  • In Duck Soup, this is how Chicolini and Pinky try to infiltrate Mrs. Teasdale's house: Ring the doorbell, hide behind a bush, and sneak in when the doorman is out looking for whoever rang the bell. This being a Marx Brothers movie, it goes hilariously wrong.
  • In High Heels and Low Lifes, Shannon and Frances pull this stunt on Mason to trick him into opening his front door. When he does so, Frances throws a brick through his back door, causing to to run back through the house without closing the front door.
  • Oresama: Averted; Miyavi does accidentally Ding-Dong-Ditch his mother in 1984, but that's because he's afraid to see her.
  • Pee-wee's Big Adventure has a variation. After Pee-Wee's bike is stolen, he goes to Francis' house to get it back. However, Francis' butler refuses to let him in and closes the door in his face. After knocking at the door twice, we hear knocking a third time. The butler answers it to find Pee-Wee attached a robotic hand to the door to repeatedly knock on it while he snuck in another way.
  • Trick or Treats: One of the MANY pranks Christopher pulls on Linda is this. He pulls it off by tying a thin thread around the door knocker and sneaking behind the front gate. He pulls on the string to knock the door and have Linda answer it to no one.
  • In Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?, Christopher does this to get Aunt Roo out of the kitchen long enough to steal the key to the nursery where Katy is locked.
  • In The World's End, Gary does this to three people.

  • Ravirn: Cybermancy: Shara doesn't want to meet the Goddess of Discord, but her companions do:
    “Have I mentioned that this is a bad idea?” mumbled Shara, when the stairs touched down in front of us.
    “I’d certainly gotten that impression, yes.” I stepped up onto the first stair. “But unless you want to play ‘ring the doorbell and run away’ with the Goddess of Chaos, we’d best get moving.”

    Live-Action TV 
  • In an episode of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon and James Earl Jones do this at Carrie Fisher's house. Based on Carrie's reaction, James does this all the time.
    Carrie Fisher: It's not funny anymore, James!
    James Earl Jones: Then why am I laughing? Hahahaha!
  • Inside No. 9: In "A Quiet Night In", the burglars lure the house owner to the front door so they can sneak in through the back door.
  • In Last Man Standing, we have "Ding-Dong-Ditch". It turns out the person doing it was Eve's new boyfriend and it was a signal to let her know he was outside so they could talk.
  • The Professionals:
    • In "When the Heat Cools Off", Bodie and Doyle do this as a prank on Da Chief. After Cowley dismisses them and shuts the door to his office, Bodie and Doyle wait in place for a moment, then rap on the door and sneak off while Cowley is shouting at whoever it is to come in.
    • In "Operation Susie", a couple of amateur criminals consider doing this to get medical aid for their dying friend; dumping him outside a random house, pushing the doorbell and driving off. They decide to risk the hospital instead, and unfortunately the man who shot him is looking for them there.

  • In Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, Ciro attempts this while trying to get out of a room. He was able to sneak into the principal's office using his invisibility, but finds himself stuck in there with said principal. He then tries to knock on the door in the hopes that the principal will open it wide enough for him to sneak out, but is discovered anyway thanks to a Power Nullifier.

    Video Games 
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask subverts this trope. After healing Sharp with the Song of Storms and getting the music box house running, Link needs to get inside the house to heal Pamela's ailing father and obtain the Gibdo Mask. If Pamela spots Link, she'll run inside and lock the door and will only come outside if a noise is triggered; Link needs to place a bomb outside to distract her should this happen. Just make sure you have the Stone Mask so you can get inside and perform the task unnoticed.
  • 60 Seconds!: In an event involving someone knocking on the shelter's door, there's a chance that the ones knocking will turn out to be a couple of pranksters who are gone by the time the family opens up.
    We opened the hatch, but there was nobody there. Damn pranksters making jokes even after the apocalypse.
  • VOCALOID no Natsuyasumi -Final 4 Days-: You can do this to a house owned by a villager named Alex by ringing its bell and then hide out of his eyesight (knocking the door does nothing). If you have a certain item, you can use him to distract him and sneak into his house.

  • One story arc of Furry Experience has Ronnie suggest "doorbell ditching" in the Tuesday 27 March 2012 update as a way to skirt the usual Mormon routine, and also help integrate the nervous Vikki with her Mormon roommates. The idea goes over well, since the girls will be leaving homemade cookies on doorsteps anonymously as a goodwill activity.

    Web Original 
  • Joseph's Machines: In Episode 2 of Jiwi's Machines, Jiwi creates a machine that creates a knocking sound on the door and distracting June.
  • In part one of SuperMarioLogan's "Bowser Junior's Summer School" story arc, it is revealed that the reason that Junior got a B- in attendance (compared to the rest of his report card, which consisted of Fs) was because he and Toad sometimes skipped school to play Ding Dong Ditch, including one time at Bowser's own house.

    Western Animation 
  • The Alvin Show has Alvin keep doing this to Dave to get him out of the garage so the Chipmunks can play in there for their "Git Along Little Doggies" number. The fourth time Alvin attempts it, Dave opens the door before he can ring the bell.
  • Beavis and Butt-Head do this to their neighbours (and eventually to each other) in an episode aptly titled "Ding Dong Ditch". However, most of their attempts end in failure, either because they didn't run away until it's too late, or because they forgot to ring the doorbell.
  • Hilariously subverted in the Brandy & Mr. Whiskers episode "The No Sleepover". Mr. Whiskers and Ed play this trick on Brandy and the girls, only for Brandy to remind them of two problems: 1): there is no doorbell anywhere around the treehouse, therefore there is no "ding-dong", and 2): the duo has to run away before anyone opens the door, which is the "ditch" part.
  • The Magic School Bus: Pheobe does the different variation (pictured above) in "The Magic School Bus Gets Cold Feet" in order to sneak past the manager of the reptile sanctuary and save Liz.
  • Some episodes of Numberjacks do this to distract the people who live in the house so the Numberjacks can launch without getting caught. Three loves doing this and begs to ring the doorbell whenever she isn't going on a mission.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "The Monster Of Phineas 'N Ferbenstein", Dr. Jekyllshmirtz does this.
    • And later in the series, Venom (yes THAT Venom) does this in the crossover episode "Mission Marvel".
  • Pingu, who is suffering from a Potty Emergency, rings the doorbell, waits for his father to come outside, and then sneaks right into his house so that he can use the bathroom in "Little Accidents".
  • In the Rocko's Modern Life episode "Dumbells", Heffer and Filburt go on a ding-dong-ditch spree and rope Rocko into it. Rocko knocks on the door of Gladys the Hippo Lady, but can't go through with it and apologizes. Gladys, however, is tickled by the idea and goes on a pranking spree of her own. When it seems Rocko and Gladys are about to take the blame for their prank, Heffer and Filburt confess and clear them of all charges, then take up a new prank: prank phone calling, even roping the judge presiding over their case into it.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In one "Treehouse of Horror" episode spoofing Strangers on a Train, Bart makes a deal with Lisa to get even with their respective teachers, with Bart telling her to do a "ding-dong ditch" on Mrs. Krabappel. It turns out Bart meant that Lisa murder Mrs. Krabappel, as in "kill that ding-dong and throw her in a ditch".
      Bart: Tomorrow after school, go to her house and TP her.
      Lisa: That's it? Just TP her?
      Bart: Yeah, torture and pulverize her. Then ding-dong-ditch the body and we're even.
    • In "Burns' Heir", when Bart abandons his family to live with Mr. Burns, Homer arrives and challenges Burns to do his worst. Burns simply locks Homer out, and Homer responds by ringing the doorbell and running away.
    • Actually gets Played for Drama in "Home Sweet Homediddily-Dum-Doodily" when, due to a series of misunderstandings, the kids get taken by CPS and are forbidden to communicate with their parents, even though they've just been placed next door with the Flanders family. Nonetheless, Homer and Marge eagerly run to get the door when they recognize "Bart's ring," only to find nobody there. Instead they find a fake newspaper that Bart and Lisa had been creating with the Flanders kids earlier, with a headline reading "SIMPSON KIDS MISS MOM & DAD."
  • In SpongeBob SquarePants, after Barnacle Boy joins Man Ray and the Dirty Bubble to tag along as supervillains, they play this prank as one of their crimes.
  • Steven Universe: In "Full Disclosure", Steven sneaks out of his house through a window while Connie speaks to Pearl at the door after the former knocks. He still gets noticed anyway.
  • Time Squad: In "Dishonest Abe", Lincoln did the normal, harmless version. The Time Squad left a flaming bag of poop for him when he answered the door.

    Real Life 
  • Some postal service companies will do this when dropping off a package in front of a house. If someone is home, they can take their goods inside before they are exposed to the elements or would-be thieves.


Video Example(s):


Jiwi's Machines

Scene from ''Jiwi's Machines'' E2 "It Has a Virus!", where Jiwi uses a Rube Goldberg machine to distract June.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / DingDongDitchDistraction

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