Haddonfield’s mayor also spoke out about another issue in the borough: false reports of break-ins and more serious crimes.
HADDONFIELD, NJ — A destructive TikTok trend brought trouble to Haddonfield homes Tuesday, with reports of children kicking doors in. But officials warned residents about spreading misinformation after social-media rumors of more severe crimes.
Haddonfield officials alerted residents about the “Door Kick Challenge,” which borough police are investigating as criminal mischief. Reported incidents emerged Tuesday evening from the Pocket — a neighborhood in the area of Walnut Street, Spruce Street and E Summit Avenue.
Contrary to social-media rumors, the incidents weren’t burglaries. Officials advised residents to check with the Haddonfield Police Department and download the Haddonfield Happenings app for accurate public-safety information.
“Criminal mischief is no laughing matter — and we take it very seriously in addressing with juveniles, young adults, parents, and victims,” Bianco Bezich wrote on social media. “However, fearmongering & spreading misinformation is also something we take very seriously, and lately we are combatting misinformation more frequently than the criminal conduct being alleged.”
For emergencies, Haddonfield residents should call 911. For non-emergencies, call 856-429-3000.
The “Door Kick Challenge” emerged several years ago on TikTok. The incidents have been described as a modern version “ding-dong ditch” in which perpetrators kick down doors — often while listening to Kesha’s “Die Young.” The “prank” emerged in college dorms and spread to neighborhoods, KTVU FOX 2 San Francisco reported in December 2021.
TikTok challenges often encourage people to perform harmless activities. But some of the viral challenges inspire users to create disturbances or physically harm themselves or others.
A 13-year-old in Monmouth County nearly died in April after overdosing on antihistamines as part of a “Benadryl Challenge” on TikTok, his mother told NJ Advance Media. In March 2022, South Orange Middle School officials blamed a TikTok challenge after students defecated on floors, smearing feces on walls and blocking toilets.
Law enforcement increased their presence at New Jersey schools on Dec. 17, 2021, after a nationwide “challenge” emerged on the digital platform that warned of the potential for school violence. The warning was generic and did not involve direct threats to New Jersey schools.