Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. In fact, I usually start thinking of my next Halloween costume(s) the day after Halloween…or even on it (so yes, I knew what I was going to be for Halloween 2011 on Halloween 2010). I guess when I say favorite holiday, I really mean I’m obsessed. Anyway, this year I had a different costume for each day of Halloween weekend (often referred to as Halloweekend), and one for Halloween itself. Respectively, I was a devil, Mother Nature, and the pink princess from the board game Pretty, Pretty Princess. Needless to say, when I found out that we could wear our Halloween costumes to class on Tuesday (Halloween was on Monday this year) for a breeching experiment, I jumped on the opportunity. I’ll do anything to make Halloween last longer. Tuesday morning, I happily put on the princess costume that I had worn the night before and left for class.
Garfinkel’s breaching experiments are designed to test the reactions of other people to oneself. Garfinkel comes out of the tradition of Ethnomethodology, which studies the understanding of how people understand their social world. Examples of breaching experiments in the modern world (besides ours) are flash mobs or people standing backwards in an elevator. If someone intentionally breaks a social norm for the sake of research, it is considered a breaching experiment. Garfinkel thought that we can break the rules in order to learn the rules.