8 Strange and Fun Facts About Fall

  • Here’s a fantastic feast of facts to fill your fall with fun.

We’re well into fall, but it’s not over quite yet. In many places, the prime fall foliage season is still ongoing, and with the temperatures cooling down, it’s a great time for many outdoor activities.

But if you (like us writing this article) are spending your fall days in front of the computer, here’s something to still get you in an autumnal mood. Here are eight facts about fall that you may not have known about.

Most Babies Are Born in Fall

Although births are sprinkled fairly evenly all throughout the year, there’s a clear spike in fall, particularly September. Nobody knows exactly why, but there are some theories.

To be born in September, the babies would’ve had to be conceived in mid-to-late December. That’s also when most people are at home enjoying the holidays, so they have more time to spend… Together.

Some studies have also found that human bodies may be biologically programmed for winter conceptions. That makes sense — the abundance of a fall harvest seems like a good time to squeeze out a baby.

The Season Didn’t Use to be Called Fall or Autumn

Depending on where you’re from within the Anglosphere, you’ll call this season either “fall” or “autumn.” But originally, English speakers didn’t call it either of that.

In 12th- and 13th-century England, fall was known as “harvest” — or “haerfest” as they would’ve written it. It’s not difficult to see why they would call the season that, considering it’s when you, y’know, harvest the crops.

People only started popularly calling the season “autumn” in the early 15th century. The name “fall” came up in the 17th century, probably as a poetic counterpart to “spring.”

We Like Pumpkins Because of Nostalgia

Pumpkin spice is a popular flavor in fall, and the upcoming Halloween will definitely boost pumpkin sales. But why exactly do we go nuts for pumpkins around fall?

Sure, you can eat them, but according professor Cindy Ott the flavor isn’t why we like them. Instead, she says we adore pumpkins because of pure nostalgia.

Before the 19th century, pumpkin was considered a borderline inedible vegetable — it was practically emergency rations. But as people began to move out of the countryside and into the cities, pumpkins became romanticized representations of the disappearing idyllic rural life.

That fondness has carried over to this day. And before you start saying how much you personally like pumpkin spice, consider this — you’re actually tasting a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, but not pumpkin.

Fall Foliage Gets Its Color from Sugar

Ever wonder why some leaves turn out yellow in fall, while others become red or orange, even on the same tree? The answer is sugar.

When the green chlorophyll disappears from leaves, it reveals the colors hiding underneath them. If the leaves have a particular high amount of sugar in them, they will also contain lots of anthocyanins — pigments that give the leaves a red or purple color.

If the leaves didn’t have as much sugar in them, they won’t produce anthocyanins. In this case, they’ll turn yellow or orange due to carotenoids, the same pigments that give carrots their color.

Fall is the Best Time to See the Northern Lights

We usually associate the aurora borealis with the pitch-black skies of mid-winter. But the best season to spot the Northern Lights is actually fall.

During geomagnetic storms, the sun spews particles towards Earth that create the aurora as they collide with elements in the atmosphere. According to NASA, geomagnetic storms are twice as common in fall than during other seasons.

It’s a good thing the nights are already getting darker in the autumn months. That gives us plenty of time to catch nature’s greatest light show.

Americans Have Fewer Heart Attacks in Fall

Most of the U.S. observes daylight savings time, and in early November you get to turn your clock back. Doing so doesn’t only add an hour to your night’s sleep, but also potentially to your life.

According to Swedish research, the rate of heart attacks in America falls drastically after the end of daylight savings. Similarly, the rate rises when the clocks are turned forward in spring.

The scientists assume that this phenomenon is mostly due to people getting that extra hour of sleep. Turns out, not sleeping enough is bad for your health — who knew?

Fall is Good for the Economy

With fewer people dying of heart attacks, they can go and gawk at the gorgeous colors of fall foliage. And the droves of autumnal tourists are really good for the economy.

At least if you live in New England. Millions of leaf-peepers flock to the Northeast every year to take a break and see the beautiful trees.

In Vermont, for example, fall visitors generate around half a billion dollars in extra income every single year. The same is true for many other New England states.

Your Sex Drive Peaks in Fall

They say fall is the season for love. Our biology seems to support that.

According to studies, both male and female testosterone levels reach their highest peak in fall. And with increased testosterone comes a higher sex drive.

That could explain why so many people feel the need to find that special someone in the fall months. But it doesn’t explain is why fall is also the month with the most babies.

Maybe it just takes most people until Christmas to get busy.