Monster High, while an ever-growing and ever-evolving multimedia franchise, is at its core a brand that revolves around dolls. A variety of merchandise may come and go, but the dolls are Monster High's raison d'être. For this reason, all pieces of Monster High fiction are written and released to promote the dolls. This isn't to say all dolls are promoted and available equally, or since 2011 that all fictional fashion is eventually produced as a doll, but in the bigger picture it's the dolls that lead the franchise.
- Case: Cases are the selection of items within an assortment made available in a certain period. For instance, if an assortment contains dolls W, X, Y, and Z and the assortment's cases contain six dolls, then the first case could be filled 2xW 2xX and 2xZ, with Y omitted from the first case. The second case could then contain 1xW 1xX 2xY, and 2xZ and a third case could hold 3xX 2xY and 1xZ, and so on. Cases can be changed in as little as three months, and once a case has been changed, the old one can no longer be ordered.
- Cast: A cast is the product created with a mold. That is, a liquid material is forced into a mold and made to solidify, causing the material to take on a form opposite to the one of the mold. The mold is subsequently removed and the cast taken out to be worked into a doll with other, complementary casts.
- Faceup: The paint on a doll's face is what is referred to as the faceup.
- Lineup: The Monster High doll lineup is divided over two periods: Spring and Fall. Spring dolls start hitting stores in October, and Fall dolls start hitting stores in May.
- Mold: A mold is the tool with which casts are created. That is, a mold is filled up with liquid material that is made to solidify inside, causing the material to take on a form opposite to the one of the mold. The mold is subsequently removed and the cast taken out, after which the mold can be reused for the next cast. Since one mold represents multiple casts, the term is also used to talk about a cast or even a full set of casts in general.
- Price point: Big brand toys are manufactured with the knowledge there has to be something available for every wallet. Price points are set store prices (with a small range each) which serve as a guiding point for the manufacturer in deciding how to finance the design a particular new toy. Low price points correspond to "budget" toys and high price points to "deluxe" toys, but are more specific as to how budget or deluxe a certain toy is.
- Scalping: Scalping is the practice of buying rare and popular toys with the specific goal of reselling them for a profit. Not only do scalpers profit from the shortage they help create, but their actions also get in the way of those who enjoy the 'hunt' for new toys.
- Sculpt: The design of any separate component of the doll as it is without paint, hair, and accessories.
- 'Shelfwarming: When a particular item's availability far exceeds the demand (at the time), and it stays on shelves for much longer than it should, it's a shelf warmer. 'Basic Holt Hyde and the four regular Ghouls Rule dolls are examples of Monster High shelf warmers.
- 'Shortpacking: Stores order cases from the manufacturer and makes the contents individually available on their own shelves. New cases are only ordered when enough dolls of a previously ordered case have been sold, regardless of which dolls remain on the shelves. This means that, for instance, if a case contains six dolls set up as 1xX 3xY and 2xZ, only one doll X is available per case, meaning that it requires the sale of those other five dolls before another doll X will appear on the shelves. Dolls that are barely in a case compared to the other dolls are short-packed, although the term is often reserved for dolls that never get a proper compensating amount in another case either. Skull Shores Gillington Webber and Between Classes' Jackson Jekyll are examples of short-packed Monster High dolls.
- Toy swapping: Toy swapping is the practice of buying a toy from a store, taking it out of the box, putting another toy in, and then returning that toy to the store to get the money back. It is a form of theft that can cause further harm because the returned toy is put back on the shelves. People who buy toys for themselves aren't likely to be tricked because they know what they are looking for, but there is a good chance someone who only buys toys as gifts is. Due to stricter store rules in other countries, the USA is the only one where toy swapping really happens.
- Variant: Sometimes, a doll or its accessories are manufactured one way for a while, and then there's a change made in the process, resulting in two (or more) versions of a specific doll. These versions are called variants, and the ones initially produced tends to be the rarer ones. Examples of Monster High variants include Picture Day Operetta (mask), Ghoul Spirit Sloman Mortavitch (hands), and Make a Splash Draculaura and Venus (faceup).
- Wave: The entirety of an assortment usually is not in stores all at once, but the contents are released in steps. These steps are called waves, which is only a loosely defined term. Playsets are generally excluded from counting as a wave on their own, but they don't have to, and it depends on the nature of a multipack if it is considered a separate wave or not.
|Large adolescent male|
The dolls of Monster High belong to one of five size classes: preadolescent (14-) female, adolescent (15-17) female, adult (18+) female, and two types of adolescent (15-17) male. The dolls of each group share roughly the same body mold, ranging from 25 cm for the preadolescent female body mold, to 27 cm for the adolescent female body mold, to 29 cm for the adult female and the smaller adolescent male body molds, to 31 cm for the larger adolescent male body mold. By far most female dolls utilize the adolescent mold and the male ones favor the smaller adolescent mold. The bodies are made from ABS plastic, while the heads are made from soft PVC plastic. Nearly each character has a unique head sculpt and since Late 2012 torso and limb sculpts have become increasingly diversified too. The hair is made of saran or kanekalon fibers, sometimes with tinsel mixed in, but most of the male dolls have molded plastic hair. Female dolls generally feature eleven articulation points, lacking articulated ankles. The male dolls started out with eleven articulation points too, lacking articulated wrists, but since Late 2011 they too have articulated wrists and thus thirteen articulation points under most circumstances.
The dolls and accessories are manufactured in Indonesia and China. The degree of difference between dolls and accessories manufactured in Indonesia and dolls and accessories manufactured in China differs between releases. Also, prior to December 2011, all dolls were packaged with stands and brushes of appropriate color. Since then, stands and brushes have been absent from certain lines and packs, usually the budget ones, and those that do have them have them all in the same color, usually black or grey.
Each doll comes with a unique haircut and unique outfit, though sometimes a piece of clothing or an accessory may be reused, with small alterations, for another doll. Some dolls are only sold in multipacks or with a playset. 'Signature' and 'Signature'-style dolls as well as San Diego Comic-Con International dolls are almost always packaged with diaries, an extra that is included only with some other doll lines. A variety of other types of doll logs is included with the remaining doll lines.
Pet figurines are a kind of doll accessory with a particular history. Prior to 2012, the first doll of a character released in a 'Signature' subline was guaranteed to come with a pet figurine. Starting Late 2011, characters were introduced that do not have a pet according to their profile, and as such when their 'Signature' dolls were released, there was no pet figurine included. Though introduced slowly, nowadays half of the cast has no pet.
The first Monster High dolls were released in Early July, 2010, at which time they were only available at Justice. These dolls are the first six of the 'Basic' line, and represent all but one of the franchise's starter cast. The 'Basic' series would continue to be the first subline of the overarching 'Signature' series, which is the only line that is permanently ongoing, even if its nature has drastically changed since 2010. Up to the fourth subline, characters primarily debuted in the 'Signature' series, but in 2012 the line was split and continued in three different directions. The N2851 assortment number follows the original subline track and is currently at its sixth subline, but the sublines have become themed and rarely debut a character as doll anymore. These days, most characters receive their first doll in the 'Signature'-derived setups of TV special tie-in lines, which is the second direction the 'Signature' series has taken. And thirdly, 2012 saw the introduction of lone character-debut dolls that in all ways but their subline-lessness follow the original 'Signature' formula.
A change related to the 'Signature' split is the distribution of character doll debuts. 2010, which was only half a year for Monster High since it didn't hit stores until July, went with nine character doll debuts, but 2011 only got six of them. Four of these were 'Signature' subline dolls, three belonging to 'School's Out' and one to 'Campus Stroll'. The character debut dolls of 'School's Out' were much more sought after than the line's repeat characters, and this preference will have been corroborated by 'Campus Stroll'. While Monster High was the launch success Mattel hoped for, in 2011 the company still had limited reason to believe the franchise also had the power to last. 2012 marked a turning point in this belief and from then on Mattel began to make a more conscious effort to expand the cast and profit from the extra enthusiasm garnered for new characters. Since 2012, character debut dolls have remained between ten and fifteen per year.
The first doll from a non-'Signature' assortment to be released in the franchise was the San Diego Comic-Con exclusive doll of 2010: a greyscale version of 'Basic' Frankie Stein. Given that the franchise wasn't even three months old at the time of San Diego Comic-Con International 2010, and the convention's general lower attention to female presence, it was a rather bold move that Mattel not only put up a stand, but also produced an exclusive doll for the convention. Nonetheless, Monster High became an even bigger hit than Mattel was aiming for, and more SDCCI exclusives have been following yearly since. As of 2013, Monster High is also present at New York Comic Con and the SDCCI exclusive is usually available there too, although this is not a guarantee. At both conventions the bulk of doll releases between July and February are revealed, while since 2011 the lineup for February-July is revealed at American International Toy Fair.
In Late August of 2010, the first themed dolls appeared, belonging to the Dawn of the Dance assortment. And during December of 2010, the first fashion packs—Scream Uniform—and the first playsets—the Jewelry Box Coffin and the Mirror Bed—were released. Fashion packs would be released at an increasing pace until the end of 2012, at which point no more followed. Fiction at the time, such as Venus's flashion mob outfit in "Scaris: City of Frights", suggests that more fashion packs were planned before the decision came to produce no more of them. It is currently unknown if any more Monster High fashion packs will ever be released. Notably, 2012 started a trend with I Heart Fashion that can be described a fusing doll and fashion pack releases into one item, and this trend became more pronounced in 2013.
Compared to fashion packs, playsets have fared better, doubling in numbers for two years to settle on a rhythm of around ten releases each year. Prior to 2012, playsets were character-bound, but the releases of the Coffin Bean and the High School moreso changed that. As well, 2012 saw the start of store-exclusive alternative versions of playsets that include a doll or an extra doll, depending on if the regularly available playset contains one doll already.
2011 is the year that holds the introduction of store-exclusive dolls. Three stores received exclusives in 2011—Walmart, Toys"R"Us, and Target—and have been getting more at an increasing frequency since. 2012 brought in four more stores to receive exclusive dolls: Costco, JCPenney, Kmart, and Kohl's, with 2013 adding Justice. These latter five receive about one exclusive item per year. Exclusives can be pretty much anything, such as special versions of playsets, character debut dolls, entire lines, and multipacks. Multipacks even are what started the store-exclusive doll system. Originally, store-exclusive multipacks principally were filled with dolls released previously as singlepacks and one doll that could only be obtained by buying the multipack. The fandom did not respond well to this, and gradually Mattel has improved the ratio of repeat dolls and unique dolls in multipacks to make the purchase more worthwhile, to the point that by 2014 multipacks were released that were nothing but unique dolls.
Male dolls are a rarity in the lineup. While Monster High, like female franchises in general, treats its male characters much better than male franchises do their female characters, it is a fact that male dolls are on average harder to obtain than female dolls. This goes back to 2010, when Deuce Gorgon, Jackson Jekyll, and Holt Hyde received their first dolls. None of them sold particularly well, and Holt even became a shelfwarmer. There are a few explanations for this, such as that Jackson and Holt had no fictional support at the time except for the books and a few doll diary appearances, which are both paid-for fiction, and that Deuce had limited fictional support while being only available in a 2-pack with Cleo de Nile, who back then was little more than a two-dimensional bully. The result of their poor sales was that, while male doll releases in absolute terms never dropped below three per year, they were excluded from the growth the rest of the lineup underwent. Male dolls (and fashion packs) accounted for 20% of the releases in 2010, but were only worth 3% of the releases in 2012. Since Late 2013, male doll releases are rapidly picking up pace, but their individual availability remains a bottleneck. Male dolls continue to be more likely to be shortpacked, only available as part of a multipack, and/or exclusive to a store or convention.
By the end of 2011, Mattel took some cost-cutting measures to compensate for increased production expenses. Whereas before all dolls came with doll stands in their specific signature color, Skull Shores and Sweet 1600 were the first to package the dolls of one line with a stand in a shared color. Early 2012 even saw the introducation of dolls without stand at all, such as was the case with the 'Campus Stroll' 2-packs. The doll brushes shared the same fate. Equally so, over the course of 2012 came a decrease in doll logs. For instance, prior to 2011 fashion packs came with a card or backstory, which were scrapped in 2012. The first set of 'Maul Session' still had a short story printed on the back of the boxes, but the second set's doll logs were limited to a quote. Later fashion packs lacked doll logs altogether. Since Late 2013, a reversal in this trend seems to have been started, as more dolls than before have been packaged with booklets.
An assortment, line, or series is a collection of dolls, fashion packs, playsets, or a combination of dolls and playsets. An assortment can be defined in three ways. The first is by means of an assortment number. All of the Monster High items manufactured by Mattel itself, as opposed by those made by other companies under license, have one or two numbers on the back of the packaging, usually in the lower right corner. These are Mattel's product numbers. In case of two numbers, the first is the assortment number and the second the model number. In case of only one number, it alone is both. All items that have the same assortment number are part of the same assortment.
The second way an assortment can be defined is by contextual relevance, which is necessary when there's only one number on the back of the box. If there's only one number, it means that the item is shipped only in cases consisting only of that item, which is often true for playsets and store-exclusive dolls and always true for multipacks. Since this number is different from the one attached to diverse cases it can be taken to mean these items are not part of the assortment those other cases represent, but this often makes no sense contextually. For instance, it would mean that 'School's Out' Clawd and Draculaura aren't actually 'School's Out' dolls.
The third method of defining an assortment is through the name printed on the box. Expensive and elaborate lines have a name that is trademarked, whereas the bulk of other lines have an unprotected name. A handful of other lines, however, are thoroughly nameless. The most significant of these are the early 'Signature' sublines, not to mention 'Signature' itself. The fandom tends to create a name on its own for use of reference in those situations and the Monster High Wiki uses these names too in to organize the information. This is the main problem with using assortment names to define assortments: not all assortments have names.
To top it off, names and assortment numbers don't always align. For instance, Dead Tired consists of two assortment numbers: V7972 and X4514. V7972 is the assortment number of the 2011 dolls, which are slightly more luxurious than the post-2011 dolls, which are the ones that have X4514 as assortment number. TV special tie-in lines also tend to fit multiple assortment numbers under one name, though sometimes they utilize a subname to distinguish between assortment numbers, like how there are a 13 Wishes line and a 13 Wishes - Haunt the Casbah line. But in this situation, the context might not be aligned. For instance, 13 Wishes Spectra contextually fits 13 Wishes - Haunt the Casbah but only features the name 13 Wishes on the box. And the Clawdeen doll that comes with the Room to Howl playset contextually matches Dead Tired, but is itself peculiarly nameless.
As a result of all this, the Monster High Wiki has to choose how to approach the Monster High dolls, fashion packs, and playsets, and these choices may not match the choices other fandom-run websites make. This does not make either party correct or wrong, especially since, in most cases, the choices made will be tied to what website setup works best given the available resources. There's also the aspect of estimating what the franchise's future will bring; what works now might not work in another year, and assortment definitions are also made with a website's setup in another year in mind.
The Monster High Wiki identifies assortments by name first, then by assortment number, and then by context. This means that all items sold under the same name, and if applicable the same subname, share a page, even if they have different assortment numbers and context. Everything that does not explicitly share the name is excluded. If there is no name present, the assortment numbers are the deciding factor. Nameless lines with different assortment numbers are never put together, with the exception of Classroom as it is only semi-nameless. If nameless though, items without assortment number may be incorporated if they contextually fit, which is most often the case for 'Signature' multipacks.
Special measures are taken to cover the San Diego Comic-Con International dolls, the lone 'Signature' dolls, the official custom dolls, and the playsets. In case of the first three categories, the dolls are all explicitly stand-alone releases, but they have a systematic connection. Because of this, they are treated as one line each and collected on one page each for ease of organization, but named so as to make it clear they collectively don't have a context. In case of the playsets, some of them are released as part of a doll line, proven by presence of a shared name, others make a playset-only line together, proven by presence of a shared name and/or assortment number, and the rest is completely lineless. While the playsets connected to a doll line are covered on the doll line's page, all playsets together are given their own page too, which compensates for the impossibility of most to be covered on a character's merchandise page - since many aren't character-related - and equally relieves some characters' merchandise pages from having to detail playsets too.
- Scream Uniform (Sport, 2010)
- Day at the Maul (Maul, 2011)
- School Clubs (Recreation/School, 2011)
- 'Maul Session' (Maul, 2012)
- 'To Howl For' (Fashion, 2012)
- 'My Wardrobe and I' (Fashion/Home, 2012)
- Main article: Playsets
There are six product lines that are complementary to the Monster High dolls. These are the Create-A-Monster and Inner Monster series, the Friends plushie line, and Secret Creepers - Pets and Secret Creepers - Critters pet-centered lines. Monster High, aswell as Skullector which acts as a sub section to the original monster high franchise, also has a sister series called Ever After High which dolls are akin to the Monster High ones.
- Create-A-Monster & Inner Monster
Create-A-Monster and Inner Monster are series of doll parts, clothes, and accessories that were respectively launched in 2011 and 2014. The lines are divided in starter packs, add-on packs, and playset packs, each of which carries unique, if sometimes incomplete, materials to put together a custom doll. The dolls created such are design-wise the same as the regular dolls and thus can be used for the same kind of play pattern.
When in Early July, 2010 the first dolls were released, so too were the first plushies released. These plushies, appropriately named Friends, essentially are dolls aimed at a younger audience and each item contains two plushies: one of a student and one of their pet. Like the 'Signature' dolls have profiles for the students & co printed on the back of the box, so have the plushies profiles for the pets printed on the back of the box. The Friends line ended in June 2011.
- Secret Creepers - Pets & SecretsSecret Creepers - Pets and Secret Creepers - Critters are two complementary lines of toys of the pets that hit stores by the end of 2013. They are marketed together with a playset, the Crypt, which is sized to be compatible with the dolls, and with lone 'Signature' Jane Boolittle. The toys are a little larger than the pet figurines that come with the dolls, but are still fit for the same kind of play pattern.
Skullectors are a subsection to the Monster High brand, meant for partnerships with other franchises to recreate the iconic movie characters into Monster High form. The idea was first introduced in the form of Pennywise and The Grady Twins in 2020.
- Ever After High
Ever After High dolls are designed to be compatible with Monster High dolls, but not 100%. Compared to adolescent female Monster High dolls, medium female Ever After High dolls are a little broader and a little more shapely in the torso area. The legs are longer, but the torso shorter. The upper limbs are also a little thicker and the heads much bigger and full, but the lower limbs, hands, and feet are identical.
While Monster High body molds are designed to suit stages of age, with the body molds representing younger characters being less curvy and having smaller feet and the body molds representing older characters being broader and having larger feet, Ever After High body molds are designed to suit height diversity at a constant age range. Therefore, while Ever After High's short female body mold is about the same height as a preadolescent female body mold of Monster High, the Ever After High body mold is much broader, shapely, and has larger feet.
Accessories are almost guaranteed to be interchangeable. Clothes, on the other hand, are only in some cases interchangeable. Adolescent female Monster High clothes are too tight for medium female Ever After High dolls, and while all medium female Ever After High clothes fit adolescent female Monster High dolls, sometimes the fit is a little too loose to look good. Due to short female Ever After High dolls having mostly the same sizes as the medium female dolls, they and preadolescent female Monster High dolls can barely exchange clothes. Adult female Monster High dolls and tall female Ever After High dolls are decently compatible clothing-wise, while smaller adolescent male Monster High dolls are too thin to properly exchange any clothes with male Ever After High dolls.