I recently told friends that the October issue of Martha Stewart Living is to me what the September issue of Vogue is to its readers. I anticipate its inspiration and its commitment to celebrating fall. There is something about the magic of October that just invigorates a sense of creativity, it seems. It's not just Halloween; it's the changing of the leaves, the crispness of the air, the longer shadows and longer nights. All of these elements lend to a sense of change and reflection, I feel, and maybe therein lies the key to its allure for me. October is one of the best months of the year and Martha Stewart Living always seems to recognize that.
This year's issue is really quite excellent. The cover is gorgeous with its gourd owls perched on an autumn tree. Inside, too, there are pages of inspiration. The disappointment (and frustration) I experienced with the September issue is nowhere in evidence this time around. All the boxes have been ticked: there is plenty of Halloween content; there is lots of interior design content; a buffet of fall recipes to keep you and your family satiated: pasta by hand, hearty fall salads, soups and more. There is even a garden feature about how to use stone in a landscape with beautiful photos of an estate in Vermont.
I was also very pleased to see the return of downloadable templates. Almost each issue of the magazine used to have templates the reader could download and print to use in craft projects. There would frequently be labels for organizing, checklists and calendars one could download, sometimes even entire booklets on preparing for Thanksgiving or for a holiday party, let's say. In this issue, there is a template to create the bats shown on page 19 of the Good Things section. The cute little sign used on the log candy dispenser on page 24 is also available to download and print.
The QR codes so many readers had difficulty with in the last issue are still in this issue but they link to content that is truly extraneous. With the September issue my gripe was about the fact that the recipes for all of the cookies in the feature "Bite Club" were not printed in the magazine; the reader had to follow the QR code to obtain them. I felt this alienated quite a few readers. (The link for the cookie recipes happened to be malfunctioning at first, which also didn't help matters.) I feel that if food is shown in the magazine, the recipe should also be printed in its pages. In the October issue, the QR codes take the reader to additional content that merely enhances the content already printed in the magazine, which is how it should be.
I hope all of you have the issue by now and that you're enjoying it. Happy Haunting!