As some of you may know my husband and I moved to Iceland two days ago. Perfect timing too since yesterday was Ash Wednesday. To me all seemed normal. Sun shining, kids running around in costumes, people with strange looking bags hanging from the back of their coats. My husband, born and raised in England, on the other hand was quite surprised. My explanation: "Today is like the Icelandic Halloween".
On Ash Wednesday every year little kids, and sometimes not so little kids, dress up in costumes and run from store to store in order to sing for the employees. Why? Because in Iceland we teach kids that they have to earn their candy. You sing, you get candy. None of that "trick or treat" business!
That doesn't mean that the day is totally prank free though. Even before there was candy involved, there were ash bags; Little bags supposedly filled with ash that you try to attach to peoples backs without them noticing. I remember one year I came home after a long day of singing for candy to find four bags on my back. I felt totally and utterly humiliated!
If you are interested in knowing how to make an ash bag, here is a totally brilliant blog featuring a wonderful tutorial. Just make the bags shown there in miniature size and you are good to go.