Autumn is Americans’ favorite time of the year, according to a survey by market research firm YouGov. It found that 40% say fall is their favorite, followed by 27% for summer, 19% for spring, 10% for winter, and 4% who can’t decide.

There’s something literally and metaphorically comforting about this time of the year. It’s nice to shut off the air conditioner and throw open the windows to let in the fresh air. I also like being able to spend hours comfortably outside. Judging by the number of people I’ve seen out walking and biking, both locally and at parks around the Twin Cities, I’m not alone. The ideal weather and colorful scenery seem to draw many of us outside, most likely because we feel the urge to get out of the house before the bitter weather moves in.

At this time of year, I tend to follow the Midwestern dress code of a pullover sweatshirt and shorts. A comfortable sweatshirt is my favorite attire, so it’s nice to bring them off the back rack of the closet and wear them again.

On most days when the weather is nice, I sit on my porch with my computer on my lap to work. I’m very fortunate to be able to do my job at home and be outside. It’s probably good for my health too. The biggest drawback of winter for me is not being able to sit outside for hours at a time.

A survey from OnePoll, a custom research firm, found that just over half of us say fall foliage is the season’s most appealing feature, followed by the chill in the autumn air. I’m a fan of both. I enjoy looking at the changing colors of the leaves, and I also like crawling under a blanket when the weather gets chilly and sleeping in on the weekends. Fall offers ideal sleeping weather.

The survey pinpoints 53 degrees as the ideal fall temperature and the first couple weeks of October as “peak fall.” That’s because leaves are typically in full color and haven’t yet fallen off the trees, and the air temp is cool without requiring a heavy jacket.

Food also plays a big role in people’s appreciation for autumn. Yet another survey, this one by the marshmallow brand Stuffed Puffs, found that 44% of people like to drink hot chocolate in the fall, and four in 10 like to make homemade soup. Integrating apples and pumpkin spices into recipes is popular at this time of the year, while baking pies and cooking Thanksgiving dinners keeps the food trend going through November.

Halloween has a strong appeal for many people too. It’s not surprising that kids like the holiday, especially when you consider that according to the National Retail Federation, Americans are expected to spend $10.1 billion on Halloween this year for candy, costumes, and decorations, which is up from $8 billion last year.

Many adults also like the holiday. I’m surprised how many people tell me it’s one of their top three favorites, which is why I see a lot of people creatively decorating for it. I saw a survey that claimed Halloween is the favorite holiday for millennials, but I’m skeptical that any holiday is able to dethrone Christmas for the majority of people in any age group.

If you go out for a walk this fall to take in the colors, consider this: catching a falling leaf could bring you good luck. According to page 216 of “The Encyclopedia of Superstitions,” “As many falling leaves as can be caught in the hand in autumn, so many happy months will follow.”

I’m not necessarily superstitious, but if I get the chance to grab a falling leaf, I’m going for it.

Brett Martin is a columnist who’s been a Shakopee resident for over 15 years.

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