Franchise / Monster High

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Everyone is welcome!

Welcome to Monster High, a Mattel franchise (launched in July 2010, rebooted in 2016) centered around a high school for the teen descendants of classic monsters, cryptids, and legends from folklore, page, and film. The initial setup:

Kindhearted, clumsy 15 day old teenager Frankie Stein is just starting off at a new school and itching to fully experience life for the first time. She makes friends quickly - there's Draculaura, a chatty, friendly and slightly ditzy Granola Ghoul; Clawdeen Wolf, a neophyte fashion designer and fashionista; Lagoona Blue, a somewhat spacy but amiable champion swimmer; and Ghoulia Yelps, the smartest kid in school. There’s also Cleo de Nile, Rich Bitch and Royal Brat extraordinaire with Hidden Depths who rules the school's in-crowd with an iron fist, and her loving but long-suffering boyfriend Deuce Gorgon.

The 2016 reboot, however, introduces a new main storyline in Welcome to Monster High:

Cheerful and bright (but miserably lonely) 1600 year old vampire Draculaura lives alone with her father Dracula, and has for years: in this world, monsters have lived isolated from each other and society at large ever since the Fright Flight, a mass exodus after humanity turned on them at least a century before present day. Dracula tries to stress to his daughter to stay in the safety of the home away from humans (never heard that before), but regardless of his efforts she's spotted by precocious 115 day old Frankie Stein during a flying lesson. Frankie follows them home and convinces Dracula to let her stay at the house, after which she and Draculaura secretly decide to build a school—Monster High. One problem—they've no other students. On their search for them they find 15 year old Clawdeen Wolf, completing their trio. The three finally convince Dracula to help build a school, and create it. Afterwards they find many other students, starting with Cleo De Nile and Lagoona Blue, as well as new nemesis Moanica D'Kay and ghost incognito popstar Ari Hauntington.

The dolls have been noted for their unique concept and high doll quality, highly articulated bodies, individual face molds and unique body sculpts for a great deal of the characters — an impressive feat considering 50+ of them have come along since the series' beginnings. (Create-A-Monster, Inner Monster, and a 17" tall customizable doll are examples of kits which allow for the more hands-on fans to create their own beastly besties.) A 4-book series of tie-in novels was written by The Clique writer Lisi Harrison, followed by the Ghoulfriends Forever series by Gitty Daneshvari, and two graphic novels written by Heather Nuhfer and illustrated by Josh Howard and Kellee Riley. The series' first Halloween special aired on Nickelodeon on October 31, 2010 and has been followed by others ever since. Currently the franchise is expanded upon via a series of CGI Direct-to-Video movies (excepting 13 Wishes and Welcome to Monster High, which had brief theatrical runs). A live action movie was initially confirmed for fall 2016 with The Duff director Ari Sandel before being removed from the slate indefinitely.

The doll releases follow a format. Usually, there are a couple of lines of variant outfits for established characters, a more uniquely themed line introducing a new character as its resident signature doll, and a wave of dolls based on the latest movie. Occasionally, dolls will be released alongside locational playsets.

A partnership with Lady Gaga happened in 2016, due to their shared emphasis on individuality and self-esteem, and Gaga's own monster themes made the pairing especially appropriate. The partnership resulted in the creation of the Zomby Gaga doll, whose proceeds contributed to the Born This Way Foundation.

Ever After High is a fairy-tale spinoff set in the same universe. While the two have had subtle crossovers, all plans to unite the two franchises were canned with the 2016 reboot of Monster High. Fair warning: tropes for both pre and post-reboot are listed.

Special-specific tropes go to the respective pages in the recap section, and tropes specific to individual characters go on the character page.


Freaky Fab Tropes:

  • Acid Reflux Nightmare: Sweet Screams is a twisted candy-themed nightmare induced by Draculaura sneaking some candy before bed. Turns out, the nightmare is simultaneous, and Frankie, Abbey, and Ghoulia are trapped in it with her.
  • Aborted Arc:
    • Frankie gets in a love triangle with Jackson Jekyll and Holt Hyde, having no idea they're the same person, since they don't even know themselves. When it's revealed, they begin fighting over Frankie. Eventually she tells them she can't date either one till they work out their issues with each other. Neither element has been followed up on so far.
    • In the 2012 special Ghouls Rule it's said that long ago humans and monsters coexisted peacefully, with humans repaying monsters for assistance and protection. But that changed over time and now both groups despise and fear each other, with humans hunting for monsters at Halloween. After a series of events that almost included the death of a student, relations are restored and the special ends... that's all we've heard of human-monster relations since. The reboot takes the franchise back in this direction.
  • Accidental Athlete: Frankie in the webisode "Fear Squad."
  • Adorkable:
    • Ghoulia, Jackson, and Kjersti, and many others in their own ways.
    • Special mention goes to the mansters fangirling over Casta and the Spells after just hearing about her minutes before and providing the votes Monster High needed to bring her performance to their school.
  • Advertised Extra: Occasionally happens with the movie-introduced characters, who are sometimes sidelined next to the established main characters and play a smaller role in the plot, and often make no appearances after their debut specials.
  • Afraid of Blood: Draculaura, the vampire, has a tendency to faint even at the mere mention of blood.
  • Age Lift: Most of the returning cast in the reboot are aged down from 16 from 15, which confusingly leaves the previously-younger characters like Twyla as the same age.
  • All-Ghouls School: Except one normienote .
  • All Myths Are True: Though not viewed from a human perspective, the franchise includes characters from all kinds of folklore and mythologies, and by the Greek monsters, indirectly states that the Classical gods exist.
  • All Part of the Show: In Boo York, Boo York, "Steal The Show" is a meta-themed ego number at the beginning, but then Luna and Catty come in to reclaim Catty's stolen voice and continue the song to call Toralei out. The audience doesn't know any better, and the conclusion gets resounding applause.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • The official website has bios for all the characters and things like their favorite foods, colors, school subjects, and their flaws (which tend to be actual monster attributes rather than simple informed flaws). The dolls come with little diaries written by the characters themselves that talk about their daily lives. Even the licensed game has bits of continuity you won't get anywhere else!
    • This is even stronger in the case of Gilda Goldstag, whose only information is to be found online.
    • This is enforced post-reboot, as cut costs mean that diaries are no longer included with dolls.
  • Alpha Bitch: Cleo in Season 1. She then got some character development, and had to be replaced in her role as designated antagonist by catty Toralei in Season 2. Cleo's older sister Nefera steps in from time to time, and she manages to outdo them both.
  • Alternate Continuity: Many in Generation 1. For Generation 2, see Continuity Reboot.
    • The initial doll diaries, which soon conflicted with webisodes, which also soon conflicted with Monster High New Ghoul At School. Volume 1 of the webisodes eventually became Canon Discontinuity.
    • The Lisi Harrison series of books, which had Frankie and the other ghouls trying to blend in at an all-human school with a human Self Insert, Melody. It was disliked by the existing Monster High fandom, panned by the public as a Twilight ripoff, flopped so massively in sales the series was canceled after just 4 books, and became fanon and Canon Discontinuity.
    • The 2-issue comic-book series.
    • The book series "Ghoulfriends Forever" worked to unify its canon with both the diaries and webisodes, with varying levels of success.
    • The Monster High Diaries book series, aimed at a younger audience than "Ghoulfriends Forever".
  • Always Identical Twins: A pair of werecatsnote , geniesnote , and hydrasnote .
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Within the main cast alone, Ghoulia is greyish-blue, Lagoona is aqua blue, Frankie is mint green (which looks a deeper shade of green in CG), and Draculaura looks really pale until you realize she's pink. In fact, the de Niles, the Wolf family, Deuce, Jackson, Headmistress Bloodgood, and Hexiciah Steam are the only regular characters to avert this.
  • Animated Adaptation: Despite there being webisodes and specials based off of the dolls, fans have wondered when an animated series would happen. So far seeking out interest for the show is at hand.
  • Animation Bump:
  • Art Evolution:
    • The webisodes have developed much better animation through the volumes, and character designs also get a bit of tweaking... perhaps most noticeably with Frankie come Volume 5, as she received a dramatic face model change.
    • The dolls themselves have gotten rounder eyes and thicker bodies after the reboot.
    • The reboot's CGI animation is much cleaner and has fluid animation, dynamic lighting, and expressive character models you'd expect to see from a big-budget studio film, which is a vast improvement over the previous clunky CGI translations of the physical dolls.
  • The Artifact: The original opening, "Fright Song," was this for a while due to sticking around so long. It initially named the first six characters to be merchandised, but by the time it was replaced, Deuce and Lagoona had smaller roles and Ghoulia and Abbey had functionally replaced them in the main cast, and the song referred to Cleo as "vile" even well after her redemption arc. The second opening, "We Are Monster High," didn't have this issue. The 2016 Fright Song, "Gaga For Ghouls", takes elements from the previous songs, and addresses this by rewriting the character rap to be more accurate.
  • Art Shift: Starting with the 3rd special, all of them have been done in CGI thanks to Nerd Corps.
    • In Great Scarrier Reef, the flashback of Lagoona and Kala as children switches from CGI to Flash.
  • Ascended Extra: Background characters Iris, Scarah, Gilda, and to an extent, the three-eyed CAM were all eventually made into dolls, with the former three being promoted to fully-fledged characters.
  • The Atoner: Draculaura's diary implies that she is one. When her dad tells her that he wishes she'd return to "proper" vampire ways, she writes that she is resolved to never go back to how she was before.
    • Strongly implied with Spectra Vondergeist.
  • Awesome, but Impractical - The girls' sports uniforms. For instance, Clawdeen's soccer uniform is pretty standard except for the high heeled shoes. Granted, their feet are shaped this way, but her shoes are open toed. The fearleading shoes make use of the high heeled foot by adding a lightning shaped high heel & Lagoona's platform surfing sandals also counts, though this is justified in her own diary with her saying that she regularly surfs in them.
  • Badass Boast: "Steal The Show" from "Boo York, Boo York" consists almost entirely of these.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": After Nefera takes over the Fearleading Squad, Frankie comes up with a way to get her fellow cheerers back in the game. This involves Lagoona and Clawd publicly lamenting how bad Nefera's team is in totally horrid lies, with Clawd actually having to read off a script one with no inflection at all. It works.
    Draculaura: Clawd needs me!
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: A bizarre subversion in the webisodes. While most of the mansters play this completely straight, Gil is drawn with visible nipples.
  • Batman Gambit: Happens a few times.
    • After the Fearleading Squad has their routine stolen by Toralei and it's given to Smogsnorts, a rival school of vampires in "Road to the Monster Mashionals", Cleo remembers what Scary Murphy put them through and telling the girls "Follow my lead" and "Just believe" leads them into an improvised new routine based on the chores they had to do (doubles as Indy Ploy) that beats the Smogsnorts team, wins Scary Murphy's respect and the Spirit Staff—and foils Toralei's revenge.
    • "Nefera Again" has Clawdeen pick up with her hearing that Toralei notices Nefera wears the hottest fashions weeks before anyone else has them. This leads to the girls assembling an ensemble of Impossibly Tacky Clothes (from what might be the WTH, Costuming Department?) claiming they're the latest fashion trends—but Nefera should know this as she's a famous model, right? Nefera asks they be handed over to her—and with the new outfit becomes the laughing-stock of the Maul. (As a bonus, Toralei and her Girl Posse followed suit.)
    • In 13 Wishes, Frankie, Draculaura, and Ghoulia deliberately provoke Howleen into wish-banishing them so they can save Clawdeen who had been trapped in Gigi's lantern.
    • This is how Scarah and Invisi Billy are set up together, as seen in "Scarah-voyant". Both of them are afraid to approach each other, fearing that Scarah's telepathy will ruin the relationship before it even starts. Clawdeen laments that due to Scarah's psychic powers, they can't trick her into a date..but Frankie figures out a way. Clawd tells Billy that Scarah has a date in the cemetery, while the ghouls tell Draculaura that Billy has a date in the cemetery, and Scarah "overhears" when she bumps into Draculaura in the hall. Scarah and Billy both end up in the cemetery and become a couple, thoroughly confusing Draculaura when they're seen together the next day.
  • Beach Line: 2011 line Gloom Beach, 2012 line Skull Shores, 2013 line Make A Splash, and 2015 line Ghouls' Getaway. As this is a kids' show, these lines aren't really fanservice-oriented like other examples of the trope but stick more to fashion exploration; this is most noticeable in Ghouls' Getaway, where Jinafire, Spectra, and Purrsephone forgo swimwear entirely for casual sundresses and elaborate island looks.
  • Beauty, Brains and Brawn: at least three groups follow the trope.
    • Group 1: Frankie (brains) Clawdeen (brawn) and Draculaura (beauty)
    • Group 2: Cleo (beauty) Lagoona (brawn) and Ghoulia (brains)
    • Group 3: Abbey (brawn) Spectra (beauty) and Operetta (brains)
  • Be Yourself: The overwhelming theme of the franchise, with the multitude of ways the message has been conveyed feeling like its own art form.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Wydowna, a spider monster, the Create-A-Monster Bee, and Bonita and Luna, moth monsters. Big bugs appear in other places in this world, as pets and decorations.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Gigi's lantern, which has a pocket dimension containing a small desert and a palace in it.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Catrine DeMew's profile is peppered with French words, and Robecca Steam's diary contains a dialog between Mr. and Mrs. Stein in their native German:
    I returned to hear Mrs. Stein ask Dr. Stein in their native German: "Werden wir jemals ein eigenes Kind haben?" note  to which he replied "Wenn die Zeit gekommen ist, das verspreche ich dir, werden wir es."note 
    • Casta Fierce's spell in "I Casta Spell on You" is spoken in Latin and directly foreshadows the mansters' transformation into "lovebugs".
  • Bland-Name Product: The series' omnipresent smartphone (the iCoffin) is the most far-reaching example, but many brands are given this treatment through horror-themed puns.
  • Blithe Spirit: In Ghouls Rule, Frankie displays her knack for diplomacy and helps bridge the gap between monsters and normies.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Lagoona, Clawdeen, and Operetta.
    • Also, Meowlody, Purrsephone, and Toralei.
    • Or Frankie (white hair), Clawdeen (auburn hair), and Draculaura (black hair).
    • Among the mansters: Manny, Clawd, and Heath.
    • In the Wolf family: Clawdia, either Clawd or Clawdeen, and Howleen (who wears her hair orange and/or pink)
  • Book on the Head: The vase variant was used on Operetta, in the episode where Cleo teaches her royal manners. Operetta improved over the course of one night, after several broken vases.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Gilda Goldstag (daughter of the Ceryneian Hind)'s pink mohawk.
  • Breather Episode: Volume 2's "Daydream of the Dead". Prior to this we got relationship troubles, Spectra making a nuisance of herself, and a cliffhanger with Cleo's sister. This episode is an advertisement for the MH booth at San Diego Comic-Con.
  • Brick Joke: In "I Casta Spell On You", the mansters are trying to distract Casta Fierce so she'll mess up her lyrics and turn them into animals. Manny wants to be a bug, Billy wants to be a snake, and Hoodude wants to be a "lovebug with a tiny top hat". Even though Casta's performance goes smoothly, she answers the mansters' request and transforms them...into little lovebugs with tiny top hats.
  • The Cameo: The Scarnival characters (Skelita, Draculaura, and Clawd) appear briefly in the Freak du Chic webisodes, suggesting that both lines are for the same fundraiser, and perhaps that the Scarnival itself is set up as a teaser for the Freak du Chic performance.
  • Carnivore Confusion: Lagoona has moral qualms about dissecting one of her amphibian bros but her favorite food is listed as sushi.
    • Word of God states that she is more closely related to amphibians than fish, which actually makes sense, considering that her crush, Gil, has to wear a water tank on his head, while she doesn't. Also, sushi refers to the rice with sugar-vinegar dressing on which the toppings, or with with the filling, is served. There are many sorts of non-seafood sushi.
  • Cast of Snowflakes:
    • Zigzagged; while the characters all have the same body type (save for Manny and Finnegan), they still have different facial features and hairstyles, and several of them have body detailing to set them apart.
    • Even when characters share the same monster type, they have very different concepts. With the zombies, Ghoulia is a retro classic zombie, and Moanica is more modern and apocalyptic. With the vampires, Elissabat is much more gothic and has more references to blood than the fun and modern Draculaura, and despite the large number of werecats, they're all patterned differently.
    • Even in terms of skin color. While several characters fall under the same blanket color (pink, green, purple, blue, etc.) everyone has a different skin tone in that range, going from the large differences (Gooliope vs. Draculaura) to the slight (Frankie vs. Scarah).
  • Celebrity Star: As mentioned above, Lady Gaga appears in the franchise, barely any different from the real person.
  • Chained by Fashion: Every single ghost character includes chains or at least chain patterns in their outfits.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Fans worried that this had happened to the majority of the cast, due to the lack of older characters in the reboot, especially Ghoulia, one of the original ghouls. Word of God has repeatedly confirmed that nobody has disappeared, making it more of a case of Out of Focus, since not all of the characters can be in the debut line. Electrified helps this assertion, with Venus and Twyla returning as physical dolls. However, in a 2015 site update, all Fright-Mares save for Skyra Bouncegait were removed from the character section.
  • Circus Episode: The Freak du Chic arc/doll line is this.
  • Classical Mythology: The source for several characters:
    • Deuce and Viperine Gorgon, son of Medusa and daughter of Stheno.
    • Iris Clops, daughter of the Cyclops.
    • Manny Taur, son of the Minotaur.
    • Wydowna Spider, daughter of Arachne.
    • Casta Fierce, daughter of Circe.
    • Gilda Goldstag, daughter of the Ceryneian Hind.
    • C.A. Cupid, daughter of Eros.
    • Avea Trotter, daughter of a harpy and a centaur.
    • Neighthan Rot, one of whose parents is a unicorn.
    • Posea Reef, daughter of Poseidon.
    • Peri and Pearl Serpentine, daughters of the Hydra.
    • The Create-A-Monster Gorgon and Harpy.
    • All of the Fright-Mares, who are part centaur, and part dream, infused with the traits of their dreamers.
    • Although she hasn't been released as a doll, Quill Talyntino, daughter of a harpy, also counts.
  • Cobweb of Disuse: Features frequently in the designs of the monster world, and as a recurring pattern in Operetta and Twyla's outfits.
  • Combat Stilettos: The fearleading squad wore 5-inch bolt-shaped platform heels as a part of their uniform.
    • Wave 2 Clawdeen and Sweet 1600 Clawdeen wear shoes which could easily be used as weapons thanks to their heels being nothing but sharp spikes. Lampshaded in Clawdeen's second diary where an incident in the restroom- involving a broken heel, Clawdeen cutting herself while shaving (which had gotten on her hands and the broken heel), and Draculaura passing out from the blood- leaving the entire school thinking that Clawdeen had stabbed and killed Draculaura. It was cleared up, but Clawdeen still had to languish in detention.
  • Composite Character: Frankie's parents, as far as characterization and backstory go. Her father is a combination of the doctor and the monster, and her mother is a combination of Elizabeth and the Bride. The Generation 1 diaries mention that the book Frankenstein exists in the MH universe as an inaccurate biography (enough that Dr. Stein begins speaking Angrish when it is mentioned).
  • Continuity Nod: The catacombs playset released with the Freaky Fusion line includes Smokey, Deuce's petrified pet dragon.
  • Cool Pet: For a while they came standard with signature dolls of characters, but later on they either stopped being included with dolls even if the character had them, or the characters had excuses not to have them. Breaking the pattern, the Ghoul's Beast Pet line directly invoked the trope again, and Shriekwrecked included the characters' original pets.
  • Cool Shades: Deuce wears them at all times, but that’s so he doesn’t turn anyone into stone.
    • Multiple lines also have these for characters. Standout examples include Boo York, Boo York's crystallized ones for the Frightseers, Viperine's pink shades from Frights, Camera, Action, and Gloom Beach's multiple character-specific shades (the molds of which kept being used for future lines and dolls).
  • Coordinated Clothes: Done frequently for themed lines.
    • The 13 Wishes line gives the main characters genie-themed outfits which are given to them when they're banished to the lamp.
    • Because of the alien comet's arrival in the movie, the Boo York, Boo York dolls have crystalline accessories.
    • The Freak du Chic line is tied together by the same style of striped fabric appearing on each outfit, and most of the dolls have similar circus patterns on their dresses.
    • The Great Scarrier Reef Down Under Ghouls have similar prints on their tops.
    • All Electrified doll dresses have neon colors, plastic frills, and transparent shoes and/or accessories.
  • Cosmetic Catastrophe: In one episode, Cleo does this to Draculaura as a practical joke. It backfires as the horrible makeup job impressed Draculaura's crush.
  • Crossdressing Voices: Holt and Jackson are both played by Cindy Robinson, and Ghoulia's voice is provided by Audu Paden, a male producer of the Generation 1 webisodes and specials.
  • Culture Equals Costume: Skelita, Jinafire, and Kiyomi follow this trend, and the Monster Exchange dolls of Draculaura and Lagoona give them culture-costumes for the places they're traveling to.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Quite a few characters, ranging from two downward fangs for vampires, werewolves, and Wydowna, upward tusks for Abbey and Lorna, and teeth pointing both ways, as seen on Venus and Honey.
  • Cute Monster Boy: So many of them.
  • Cute Monster Girl: SO many.
  • Dark is Not Evil: Most of the student body are pretty much of the same mindset as your average teenager, not really having an interest in the bloodthirsty ways of their respective lineages. That doesn't make this series a Sugar Bowl... we've got our share of nasty kids.
  • Dancing Theme: Initially "Fright Song", and then "We Are Monster High". Both count for serious Ear Worm.
  • Dance Party Ending: In many webisodes and specials. Most notably in the 2015 CG musical, Boo York, Boo York.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Cleo's major motif in the first season of the webisodes & first edition diary.
    • Cleo breaks down in tears in "Kind Campaign: The Shockumentary." She was in the Kind Campaign's booth the longest (she has the most issues to deal with) and cries when she comes out with mea culpa in heart.
    • Boo York, Boo York really goes into her character... and the machinations of her family that made her the way she is.
  • Deliberately Monochrome:
    • Both Skull Shores and Signature Frankie were made into greyscale dolls to reference the classic films that spawned most modern monster icons.
    • The Freak du Chic Clawdeen and Twyla dolls have desaturated colors and limited palettes to invoke this.
  • Denser and Wackier: Ever since 2013, the plots for the G1 webisodes moved into this territory. Webisodes became mainly one-offs to introduce new toyline characters (even ones that purportedly came in arcs), CG specials padded out with comic relief in place of worldbuilding, and the subplot building up about monster-human relations all but disappeared entirely. Post-reboot, we'll be back to delving into monster-human relations—but the tone of the series itself will be focusing on more comedy than ever, and including a lot of wackier looking monsters (like a gluttonous, translucent, squat blob creature; a large blue furry girl beast with braces; and a mouse).
  • Disaster Dominoes: Done psychologically by Nefera in "Kind Campaign: The Shockumentary." Nefera's insulting behavior to Cleo sets in motion a series of events that causes fights to break out at Monster High. Ghoulia calls in the Kind Campaign for help before it gets out of control.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The 2012 movie "Ghouls Rule" involved some hysteria going on in both the monster and human races due to the Fantastic Racism that monsters are subjected to on Halloween. Holt was framed for trying to vandalize the human school because humans had previously vandalized there own school and mocked them for being monster; so a group of monsters wanted revenge and Holt just happened to be apart of it. Holt was caught with spray paint that was planted on him by a monster hunter. Human high-schoolers then started accusing people at a party of being monsters, and Holt was sentenced to the Trick-or-Treatment which was a machine similar to a hanging gallows. When the monster hunter finally confessed to framing Holt, the police officer refused to listen and wanted to continue with the Trick-or-Treatment. Oh, and this all took place in a town called "New Salem".
    • The movie 'Fright On' revolves around the tension between vampires and werewolves. Neither group is happy that vampire Draculaura and werewolf Clawd are dating each other and they even claim territories in the school and form 'empowerment groups'. An ex-monster hunter also spreads rumors about the two species, saying that werewolves have diseases and that the vampires' abilities mean they'll one day take over. Why does he do this? In his belief, so that monsters will be so busy fighting each other that they won't come after humans.
    • Clawdeen's and Ghoulia's first wave diaries depict an incident where Ghoulia is mistreated in a store because the employee doesn't speak Zombie and thinks zombies are lazy because they're slow and don't speak English. Consider how Mexican immigrants are treated in the US.
    • The webisode "Monster Morphoseas", Lagoona goes through a seasonal event that affects all ocean monsters once every 100 years. It makes her extremely prone to mood swings, need to be left alone, and beg the other ghouls not to tell Gil because "he just wouldn't understand". Leading to the webisode ending on Gil misunderstanding while trying to help.
  • Domino Mask: A few in Power Ghouls, and several dolls and characters have facial patterns to this effect, like the shading on the Ghost Create-A-Monster and Getting Ghostly dolls, and several of the Inner Monster faceplates.
  • Draconic Humanoid: The Create-A-Monster Dragon, Jinafire Long, and the Spooky Sweet mode of the Fierce/Sweet Inner Monster.
  • Drama Bomb: A couple.
    • Robecca Steam's basic diary details the story of a teenager being trapped underground for a century, waking up only on accident to find the world drastically changed and her father long missing.
    • Cleo's Gloom and Bloom diary gives us some information about her fairly sad backstory, and sheds more light on her situation.
    • Draculaura's collector edition diary gives us a small timeline of her young life. See her character page.
    • Freaky Fusion, containing the first straight up Disney Death in the series... that of Frankie Stein, who uses up her own life-force to save her friends from absorption.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The line was initially presented as featuring the children of famous movie monsters. It did not take long for the concept to move away from that- Frankie being the only one that did keep to this idea. Clawdeen is merely A werewolf and there are many of them. Ghoulia is a generic zombie with no real famous lineage stated. Lagoona is the offspring of a sea creature and a sea nymph, and Draculaura's father is actually an ancient Roman soldier who merely happens to be named Dracula(which would, at the very least, justify her being 1600 years old). As we find out in the diaries, Roman Dracula is actually her adoptive father who may have served in the army of Julius Caesar, and the more well-known Dracula was, in fact, the historical tyrant Vlad Tepes. The two apparently had a major conflict, the former not being too happy that a murderous tyrant was using his name).
  • '80s Hair: For the many of the ghouls, and always in large quantities. The Electrified line takes this Up to Eleven, with each character receiving a crimped texture to their hair as a more stylish imitation of the effects of electrocution.
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • In Monster High Fright On, several Star-Spawn of Cthulhu were seen living in the catacombs of Monster High, which weren't at all friendly to even the monsters they ran into. In a bit of Fridge Brilliance, it means that Cthulhu's kids were technically at Monster High... even if not as students.
    • Great Scarrier Reef gave us the Kraken. And his daughter.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: Draculaura, Elissabat, C. A. Cupid, and Amanita Nightshade lean towards this style.
  • Enemy Mine: "Neferamore" has Nefera recruit Toralei and her cat-girls to replace Cleo and the other girls in the Fear Squad. Given Cleo and the girls gave both grief at times, it's no surprise. When Nefera cheats against Cleo in "Monster Mashionals" is the moment Toralei and her catgirls decide enough's enough — not to mention that they're ticked off that Nefera didn't believe in them — and help foil the cheating.
  • Everything's Better with Plushies: A few waves of them in G1, including the original ghouls, their pets, and other characters. Hoodude's doll also counts, as he's made in plush to reflect his voodoo-doll nature, even though they could have made him in the typical style.
  • Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods:
    • The "Scared Silly" persona of one of the Inner Monsters has a tentacle motif.
    • Vandala Doubloons' pet is a cuttlefish.
    • Kala Mer'ri has the lower body of a squid, since she's the Kraken's daughter.
    • Draculaura's Great Scarrier Reef "fishification" gives her the lower body of a vampire squid.
    • Welcome To Monster High gives us a tentacled lunch lady. Who doubles as a DJ.
  • Fantastic Racism: A common theme in the series, from G1-G2.
    • In the main G1 canon, there was an undercurrent of monster-to-human prejudice (and schools seemed to be segregated, with human schools separate from monster schools), whereas in the Lisi Harrison book canon it was the other way around.
      • The movie Ghouls Rule! brought these elements to a head with the monsters facing off against the human populace of their hometown in more direct ways... and one of the monsters almost getting executed for it.
      • Vampires and werewolves don't like each other much, though Draculaura and Clawdeen are best friends, and neither do fresh water monsters and sea monsters, according to Gil's parents (though Lagoona thinks the whole thing's ridiculous). Van Hellscream says centaurs and minotaurs don't get along either. Some monsters are discriminated against by the wider monster community, such as zombies and trolls. According to a bonus story on the website, Monster High was the first school to let all types of monsters in, as opposed to the other schools that were all vampires, all werewolves, etc.
      • Gil's parents don't like saltwater monsters due to illogical prejucidce, and try to stop Gil from dating Lagoona, who is from salt waters.
      • In Fright On!, we had Van Hellscream. He attempted to shut down Monster High with two (incorrect) rationalizations in mind: the only reason humans were safe from monsters was because monsters were too busy fighting each other; and if all types of monsters got along, monsters and normies would also begin to associate freely. The thought of the latter sickened him.
      • Kala Mer'ri perceived an indirect case of this towards her. Since her father, the Kraken, was so reviled, she kept her parentage secret and strived to prove herself by any means possible.
    • In G2, starting with Welcome To Monster High, the Fantastic Racism is decidedly less aggressive: monsters are all isolated from society and each other, while humans are ignorant of their existence. The most forward example of it is Moanica, who wants to start a worldwide regime of chaos... because she finds humanity (and most monsters) boring.
  • Exotic Eye Designs: While the characters themselves are no strangers to this, this is exemplified with the Monster High Minis, which give each character unique eye-reflection designs reflecting their theme.
  • Fiery Redhead: Operetta, daughter of The Phantom of the Opera; and Heath Burns, Holt Hyde, and the Fearfully Feisty Inner Monster (whose hair and heads can be literally fiery).
  • Fish People: Lagoona Blue, Gillington Webber, Sirena Von Boo, Lorna McNessie, and Finnegan Wake. Great Scarrier Reef adds Peri and Pearl Serpentine and Kala Mer'ri.
  • Five-Man Band: In the reboot's main group, we have:
    • The Leader: Draculaura, who incites the creation of MH.
    • The Lancer: Clawdeen, the creative force of the group.
    • The Smart Guy: Frankie, who is a mad scientist at heart and very familiar with technology.
    • The Big Guy: Cleo, who provides the power and prestige of the group.
    • The Chick: Lagoona, the mildest and gentlest personality.
    • The Sixth Ranger: Skelita, who is marketed as one of the main characters in many spinoff merchandise lines, but isn't actually a main character.
  • Flaming Hair: Holt Hyde and Heath Burns, which led some people to think they were one and the same when they're not.
  • Flowers of Romance: Subverted in the Love's Not Dead pack. Slo Mo has a bouquet for Ghoulia, but it contains brains.
  • Fog Feet: Djinni has this in shadow form, and a tornado-like variety features in one of the ensembles in the deluxe Inner Monster pack.
  • Foreshadowing
    • The characters' interactions in the beginning of Freaky Fusion foreshadow which ghouls will be fused.
    • The first-wave Monster Exchange boxes have stamps from the locations of the second wave's characters.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The six original ghouls; Frankie & Draculaura (sanguine), Clawdeen & Cleo (choleric), Ghoulia (melancholic), and Lagoona (phlegmatic).
    • The hybrid monsters from "Freaky Fusion"; Avea Trotter (choleric), Neighthan Rot (phlegmatic), Bonita Femur (melancholic), and Sirena von Boo (sanguine).
    • The main werecats of the cast; Toralei Stripe (choleric), Purrsephone (melancholic), Meowlody & Catty Noir (phlegmatic), and Catrine De Mew (sanguine).
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: The Scarily Ever After line.
    • Frankie as Threadarella loses her foot as well as the shoe wearing it.
    • Clawdeen as Little Dead Riding Wolf is the wolf of the story, so the guy causing her problems is Heath.
    • Draculaura as Snow Bite is unable to see her reflection, so the evil princess leaves her alone, secure in the knowledge that Bite will never know that she is truly the fairest.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Cleo and Ghoulia get one in "Freaky Fridate" when Cleo accidentally touches one of her father's idols that Ghoulia's also holding. At the end, kissing their boyfriends has them returned to normal, but Deuce and Slo Mo are swapped.
  • Freaky Is Cool: A major theme of the G1 premise, and manages to apply in-universe even to things the monsters themselves think are "freaky" (such as Draculaura's former crush Heath Burns heartily approving of her makeup after Cleo wrecked it: "You look horrible!" [beat] "... I like that in a girl."). A G1 tagline of the doll line is even "Freaky just got fabulous!"
  • Freaky Fashion, Mild Mind: The characters of this school often sport fashions adorned with skulls, spikes, stitches, brains, slime and morbid accessories to match—yet most are some of the nicest kids you'll ever meet. Moanica D'Kay is a hard aversion of this trope, though.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Draculaura and Elissabat.
  • Frozen Face: Ghoulia in earlier materials, though she could occasionally force a rather pained-looking unsmile, a groan, or even, in the case of the webisode "Mad Science Fair", a truly epic Slasher Smile that only manages to dodge being terrifying by happening as she finally gets back at Cleo for using her. She's a lot more expressive these days.
  • Fundraiser Carnival: Scarnival, and the closely-related Ghoul Fair, both of which seem to be tied to the Freak du Chic line.
  • Funny Background Event: In the webisode "Road to Monster Mashionals", while Clawdeen mentions "Scary Murphy and her dumb chores", we see a background student getting pulled into the water by giant tentacles in the background. This joke has now become a series tradition carrying over into the CGI specials. The two are even implied to be in a relationship now.
    • In the episode "Ghostly Gossip", at the beginning in a blink and you miss it moment, when the image is focused on Cleo you can see in the background a student being attacked by her locker with octopus-like tentacles.
  • Fun Size: The vinyl figure, Monster Minis Mega Bloks products, and limited-edition Frankie and Draculaura Hallmark Itty Bittys follow this trend: they're of Monster High characters in smaller form, with more Super-Deformed proportions. They're also very, very cute.
  • Furry Confusion: Averted. While there are several anthropomorphic animals and several "realistic" animals, the former are explicitly stated to be werebeasts, thus qualifying them as humanoid monsters.
  • Furry Fandom: After counting all the werebeasts in the franchise, one can only wonder if Mattel is influenced by some kind of a furry lobby.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Ghoulia. Not only is she the smartest ghoul in the school, but she once invented a two story tall trash-to-fuel recycling machine as a Mad Science Fair project. And woke up an alien in a Sleeper Ship before said ship could crash into and destroy the world.
  • Gag A Day Webseries: Volume 1 and 3 of the webisodes.
  • Generic Graffiti: This is the theme to the Boo York Frightseers outfits, to represent the ubiquitous street art and graffiti seen around cities.
  • Glamour Failure: Draculaura has no reflection and only her clothes (and sometimes her hair) show up in photos (unless they have a vampire detection filter). She's usually okay with it at this point, and claims that centuries of practice have given her the ability to apply her own makeup.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: An odd variation in "Here Comes Treble", with Jackson and Holt as Frankie's shoulder angels fighting for her.
  • Good Feels Good: A major part of G2 marketing, for example: #KindGhouls, the Born This Way Foundation collaboration, the official Twitter description including "Where kind ghouls rule!", and a huge focus on teaching young girls to create a positive web presence.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Several characters have features that humans would consider disfigurements, but all of them are perfectly nice.
  • Good Parents: Frankie's mom and dad. For a couple of mad scientists, they've got a remarkable knack for knowing what's best for their little girl and what makes her happy without spoiling her either. In fact, most of the MH parents are good, with the Webbers being a notable exception.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Cleo and Frankie accidentally break a statue together in "Totally Busted", and Cleo blames it entirely on Frankie. The headmistress is thrilled, because the statue had imprisoned the ghost of Professor Irene Maiden for years in a terrible And I Must Scream situation, and is incredibly grateful to Frankie for this service to the school, leaving Cleo to start to protest that she did it all herself instead.
  • Gorgeous Gorgon: Deuce, the rare male example. His cousin Viperine and the Create-A-Monster Gorgon also count, despite being much more serpentine.
  • Gretzky Has the Ball: In the webisode 'Dodgeskull', Ghoulia secures a series of outs after dropping the ball. This incident counts as this trope as the rules of dodgeball explicitly state that after a ball has touched the floor or a wall, hitting a person cannot be counted as an out.
  • The Grim Reaper: Haunted introduces River Styxx, his bubbly party-loving daughter, who likes to borrow his yacht for joyrides.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: A Lighter and Softer example: in the Scarnival doll set, Clawd runs a high striker game, and gets a hammer. Draculaura runs a balloon dart game, and thus gets darts.
  • Halloween Episode:
    • Monster High Ghouls Rule focuses on monsters interacting with humans during the Halloween season.
    • Casta Fierce and her subplot provide a smaller case. Casta herself only performs on Halloween, and her design screams of the holiday, being based on a Wicked Witch with a purple-and-orange outfit.
  • Happily Adopted: Draculaura, Jane Boolittle, C.A. Cupid, and Gooliope Jellington.
  • Happily Married: Frankie's parents (Frankenstein's monster and his Bride, despite how the Bride reacted to the idea of even being his friend in her titular film).
  • Hartman Hips: Default body type for the ghouls, small shoulders with wide hips. This is especially noticeable with the Great Scarrier Reef merfolk and Luna Mothews.
  • Hate Sink: Nefera de Nile and Amanita Nightshade are both entirely unsympathetic; the former for her superior attitude and petty (and sometimes not-so-petty) evil, and the latter for her narcissism and complete inability to understand her selfishness.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Cleo started out as a hardcore snob/bully, but has progressed into a supportive friend (if not amusingly self-centered), first truly noticeable in "Daydream of the Dead". There's also Kieran Valentine, Djinni Grant, and Principal Revenant.
  • Hidden Depths / Defrosting Ice Queen: In G1, Cleo was a spoiled brat (but you would be too if you were entombed with your father who felt that royals were superior to everyone else for a few thousand years). Beyond just being an Alpha Bitch, though, she was best friends with Ghoulia from the start. Throw in some Break the Haughty and repeated exposure to Plucky Girl Frankie, and you've got the perfect recipe for the Lovable Alpha Bitch Cleo.
  • Helping Hands: Frankie’s hands whenever they fall off.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: Monster puns are a series standard, so this is no surprise. Our most common examples are "ghoul" for "girl", and "manster" for "guy/man". This lingo isn't 100% consistent, however, as the normal words have been used at least once.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Ghoulia can hack anything including multiple satellites at once in a few seconds with her laptop. Well, almost anything... she couldn't hack the gossip column to find out who was running it.
    • G2 Frankie is such a proficient hacker she gets Draculaura onto the Monsternet (a monster-exclusive version of the deep web) in Welcome To Monster High.
  • Hollywood Nerd:
    • Ghoulia is the series' foremost example. There's the webisode Daydream of the Dead, where she laments not being able to go to Nekrocon, where she hoped to get the first issue of the zombie comic book Deadfast. Her SDCC doll features her in a Deadfast cosplay, and that year's SDCC featured an official Ghoulia Deadfast cosplayer. There was also a fashion pack featuring her in a comic book club outfit (with a Deadfast shirt, comicbook, and figure).
    • There's Jackson, who's more "alternative" than others, resulting in a dorky sweater vest and glasses with an eyebrow ring and frosted-tipped hair.
    • And lastly, Kjersti, who has a pixellated theme due to her passion for video games.
    • The Geek Shriek line of dolls gives Ghoulia, Frankie, Abbey, Howleen, Catty, and Gigi outfits reflecting this; though the line's message is to embrace your inner geek, turning the trope into a positive aspiration.
  • Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: The hybrids make for some interesting pairings: Centaur/Harpy, Mothman/Skeleton, Mermaid/Ghost and Zombie/Unicorn.
  • Hover Skates: Robecca Steam has a steampunk version.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Clawd and Draculaura in the animation. Later, Manny and Iris, in both the animated material and as dolls.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: When monsters and normies have to interact the villain is usually a normie whipping up fear and distrust toward monsters, although there are normies that stick up for the monsters.
    • The Ghoulfriends books plays with this with a monster conspiracy that encourage monsters to think all normies are evil. The protagonists must prove that the normies are innocent.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Character names and so much more. Any opportunity for a monster, fear or graveyard pun is exploited. To the extent that this is practically a World of Pun, but the Earth is still called Earth.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In the movie 13 Wishes, Cleo exhibits this when she mocks Howleen for wishing herself more popular: "In my day you couldn't just wish yourself to be more popular. You had to earn it, by being born into an incredibly rich royal family."
  • I Am Spartacus: Near the end of Ghouls Rule!, where normies stand up to the police, identifying themselves as monsters to protect the main cast.
  • Idiot Ball: Passed around so much you'd think it was one of Monster High's official sports.
  • Idol Singer: Catty Noir, Casta Fierce, Ari Hauntington, and Zomby Gaga.
  • The Igor: He's a gym teacher.
  • I Have to Go Iron My Dog: Meta-example. The line stopped including pets with the dolls, but still kept the "pet" category on the bio, leading to several creative excuses as to why the character has no pet.
  • Indulgent Fantasy Segue: Everyone during the Gloom Beach arc.
  • Informed Ability: Lagoona is describe as being a Tomboy among the group, however she is just as girly as the rest of her friends.
  • Interspecies Romance: Draculaura and Clawd, though with them it's the potential awkwardness of having been best friends since Clawd was a little kid that's played up. Lagoona and Gil's relationship, being a metaphor for anti-racial behavior, is a more prominent example.
    • Because the setting is a school that accepts all monsters, romance between two different species happens a lot. There's Cleo and Deuce, a mummy and a gorgon. Iris and Manny, a cyclops and minotaur. And Catty and Seth, a werecat and mummy.
  • Intelligible Unintelligible: All Ghoulia can do is groan, but the other characters have no trouble understanding her.
    • For the most part. Occasionally a student in the school will be unable to understand "zombish".
    • Lampshaded in Freaky Fusion, where as Ghoulia and Viktor Frankenstein have an animated conversation in Technobabble, Toralei quips:
      Toralei: Okay, I can understand zombie, but I have no idea what those two are saying.
  • Invisibility: Friendly teacher Mr. Where looks like the classic bandage-wrapped Invisible Man, but he can make even those phase in and out of visibility.
    • Billy, being the son of the Invisible Man, has the ability to become invisible at will.
  • Iris Out: A few webisodes end this way.
  • Jaw Drop: Done literally by a background skeleton student in "Here Comes Treble", after witnessing Jackson's transformation into Holt.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: Jackson and Holt, obviously. The gimmick of the Inner Monsters is to accessorize them according one of two (for the deluxe set, three) contrasting emotions.
  • Kaleidoscope Hair: Pretty much any character with multiple dolls applies.
  • Karma Houdini: The sheriff in "Ghouls Rule" gets absolutely NO punishment, despite being a Knight Templar Jerkass and perfectly willing to execute an innocent monster so he'll remain sheriff. Made even worse due to the fact the true culprit comes forth and confesses to him that she did it and framed the monsters, he flat out states he doesn't care and is going through with it anyway. We last see him dancing with everyone like nothing happened.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Clawdeen in Freaky Fusion, when the efforts to revive Frankie don't seem to be working.
    Clawdeen: Ghoulfriend, if you're taking your sweet time for dramatic effect... you're killing us over here.
  • Level Ate: The "Sweet Screams" line uses this as its aesthetic, and its backgrounds depict a candy-based nightmare version of the school.
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Draculaura and Cleo, respectively.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Most doll franchises have a small cast of characters with hundreds of dolls. MH has that...and 50+ other characters with several dolls to them as well.
  • Little Bit Beastly: This is pretty much where the werebeasts and other animal-based monsters fall in terms of design. Very human faces, but skin colors, ears, teeth, and tails help them seem more monstrous. This is taken farther than most examples, however, since most of their faces have animalistic touches (Lagoona's large lips and eyes, Batsy's upturned nose, Mouscedes' wall-eyes) to further suggest their creature basis while remaining humanoid and relatable.
  • The Lopsided Arm of the Law: In the film "Ghouls Rule" some normies vandalize the monster school and nothing is done about that. Monsters are framed for vandalizing the normies' school in retaliation and the police arrest any monster on sight.
  • Losing Your Head:
    • The Headmistress, being this world's version of the Headless Horseman.
    • The Anti-Styling Heads take the unintentional creepiness of styling heads and make it intentional by being made to look like disembodied heads in lab-specimen jars.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Cleo de Nile, she was at her worst in volume 1 of the webisodes, but even then she would help our her friends. The doll's diaries often talk about how Cleo can be unbearable, but state that she is extremely generous to her friends. In Volume 2 of the webisodes, Cleo is much nicer to the ghouls, but still obsessed with being number one.
  • Magic Skirt: Many of the girls wear micro-miniskirts that barely reach upper thigh and yet never move or sway an inch.
  • Masquerade Ball: The Ghouls Rule! outfits and the "Dance the Fright Away" costumes from Welcome to Monster High.
  • Meaningful Name: All the characters' names have to do with what kind of monster they are.
  • Meganekko: Ghoulia.
  • Merchandise-Driven: A Mattel, Netflix, and App Store/Google Play store mainstay.
  • Michael Jackson's "Thriller" Parody: Done with Zombie Shake, with a zombie dance outbreak and the werecat twins' outfits referencing Jackson's.
  • Missing Mom: Many characters start off with a focus on only one parent, often the father, due to the famous monster angle of the series, but most get their other parent mentioned eventually.
    • Draculaura is the adoptive daughter of Dracula, but both her biological parents had perished long ago. Dracula remarries late in Generation One.
    • Lagoona is the daughter of Sea Monster, strongly implied to be the Gill-Man. Her mother was later revealed to be an ocean nymph with whom Lagoona has just as good as a relation as with her father. Only, ocean nymphs can't go far from their home, so while in the USA, only her dad can visit her.
    • Cleo and Nefera's mother was missing until Robecca discovered her in the SDCC Steam family two-pack's diaries.
  • Monster Clown: Direct literality aside, Twyla's Freak du Chic outfit is a spooky Victorian-style clown costume with neck ruffles, pom-poms, and a harlequin pattern.
  • Monster Mash: All the main characters are offspring of famous monsters or mythological creatures.
  • Morality Pet: Ghoulia to Cleo as the two are "beast friends forever." They plan their schedules together, and she acts as Cleo's personal assistant. Cleo even gets her staff to help get a rare comic book for Ghoulia (though she gets the others not to let word of this leak as it might ruin her rep).
  • The Movie: A live-action movie musical was being directed by the men behind Hairspray and Chicago. It’s been described as "Beetlejuice meets Grease meets The Addams Family meets Edward Scissorhands." Stuck in Development Hell, until its cancellation. It will be released as "The Lost Movie" in storyboard form, with Draculaura and Clawdeen providing MST3K-style commentary over it.
  • Muggles: The natives of New Salem, and humans in general. Monsters refer to them as "normies" and fear them as much as the they are feared by them.
    • Also in Haunted, ghosts fear "solids", a category including monsters. The movie helps them get over that fear.
  • Multicolored Hair: The amount of characters that have averted this across all of their dolls can be counted on one hand.
  • Mummy: Cleo de Nile, though her only bandages in G1 were part of her outfits. G2 gave her molded wrappings on her body. Her sister Nefera also counts.
  • Mundane Utility: The ghouls take advantage of their different attributes for their acts in the Freak du Chic performance.
    • Frankie's detachable body parts make her the magician, easily able to do the "separation cabinet" trick.
    • Since she's a dragon, Jinafire is the circus fire-breather.
    • Toralei is a tightrope walker. Cats are good at balancing.
    • Rochelle is French; this apparently means she knows mime well enough to perform as one.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Lilith's reaction in Ghouls Rule to the news that the Trick-or-Treatment will be brought back.]] She clearly didn't expect things to go that far.
  • Mythology Gag: The franchise is built on this trope; virtually everything is a reference to classic horror, and later lines play upon established traits of characters before.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Frankie Stein at first, who in all continuities is only 15 days old when she starts at Monster High. In the updated website bio, she's lost count.
    • Afterwards, transfer students sometimes take this role.
  • Nerd Glasses: Jackson, Ghoulia, and Kjersti have them, and the Geek Shriek line includes comically large versions for its characters.
  • Nerds Love Tough Schoolwork: In "Scaris: City of Frights", the cast was given an incredibly hard math problem to do in class that no monster had ever done before. Jackson was ecstatic. In fact, he solved it, but the bell rang before he could show the teacher.
  • Never Say "Die": In "Ghouls Rule" Holt was sentenced to the Trick-or-Treatmentnote  and even without saying it was obvious what would happen to him—amped up by having it take place on a hill with a dead tree in a town called "New Salem".
  • Nice Shoes:
    • All the girls wear fancy shoes that have five inch heels. Even Ghoulia wears knee-high converse boots! This to the point to where the girls are rarely if ever seen out of those five inch heels. This includes at sleep overs and while on the beach.
    • The dolls have become known for their shoe designs, with Gooliope's skeletal carousel-horse heels and Elle Eeedee's futuristic boots being two examples.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Often, celebrity pastiches show up—resemblance to actual celebrity is optional.
  • No Flow in CGI: Goes with Uncanny Valley, but special mention goes to Clawdeen's hair, which has a tendency to look like polished mahogany boards.
  • Noodle People: Most of the females are extremely skinny. This is partially to cut costs on the dolls' clothes, and perhaps part of the creepy aesthetic. The males are more plausible, though, and the big-sister size and Kala are more curvy.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Despite the fact that they live in the MH equivalent of Australia, Kala, Peri, and Pearl have American accents, which contrasts to the Blue family and Posea, who have the appropriate Aussie accent.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Averted; Ghoulia and the other zombies at the school are openly referred to as such.
  • Off Model:
    • A minor example with the Gloom Beach webisodes- while the characters have the outfits and makeups of their corresponding dolls, their hairstyles are the same, not matched to the dolls.
    • Draculaura's height seems to vary in all the webisodes if you look closely. There are times where she's as tall as Cleo and Clawdeen, such as in "Clawditions", and times where she's much smaller than the others, such as in "Idol Threat".
    • The Ghouls Alive dolls are this to the original versions; Clawdeen's face is a prime example.
    • The Beast Freaky Friend Skelita doll clearly doesn't have a scaled-up Skelita face mold (it's just the older one used on the other dolls, which means she has ears), which makes her look wrong.
    • Due to having a fairly different aesthetic, the G2 webisode animation can feel like this to those familiar with the G1 animation.
  • Official Couple: Many, which are highlighted by a yearly "date pack" featuring one of the couples.
  • Older Than They Look: A few of the characters fall into this, but out of the main girls, Draculaura is really 1,599 years old (but becomes 1,600 in the special Why Do Ghouls Fall In Love) and Cleo is 5,842 years old.
  • Only Known by Initials: C.A. Cupid uses this, as she and her classmates consider "Chariclo Arganthone Cupid" to be an Overly Long Name.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Ghoul Spirit reveals that "Slo Mo" is a nickname, and his real name is Sloman Mortavitch.
  • Oracular Head: Scary Murphy is a head in a crystal ball, with a witch's cloak forming her body.
  • Our Cryptids Are More Mysterious: More modern mythology is also a source of characters.
    • Abbey Bominable, daughter of the Yeti.
    • Marisol Coxi, daughter of the South American Bigfoot (maricoxi).
    • Lorna McNessie, daughter of the Loch Ness Monster.
    • Honey Swamp, daughter of the Honey Island Swamp Monster.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: While they still can't enter a building without being invited, they sleep upside down, and are repulsed (not injured) by garlic. Also, they don't have to drink blood if they can afford numerous supplements. Draculaura's diaries states that when in sunlight she slathers herself in sunscreen "more like sun WALL with how thick the stuff is" and carries a parasol, which probably means that MH vampires are more susceptible to sunlight than humans—just not killed by it.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The werewolves of MH are never in human form, but always humanoid with wolfish traits (wolf ears, sharp teeth and claws, golden eyes, and excessive hair).
    • The upcoming reboot changes it so that while still looking like they did before the change, they now can shift into a wolf form to better hide from humans.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Ghoulia can’t speak anything other than zombie (grunt and groan), yet happens to be the smartest student in school and prefers fast food over brains. Zombish is even a language in this universe and those who don't know it are seen as the odd ones. Moanica is different by G1's standards; she can speak English, she's not particularly slow, and she has claws and fangs.
  • Outnumbered Sibling: Jinafire has seven brothers. She's also the only one of her siblings to not convincingly pass for human (though her brothers do have tails).
    • There's also Kjersti, youngest daughter after three bigger brothers.
  • Pale Females, Dark Males: Gil to Lagoona, Garrott to Rochelle, and Neighthan in comparison to Ghoulia and Moanica.
  • People Puppets: Honey Swamp's Freak du Chic performance invokes this-she has an elaborate trapeze-like act, being connected to the ropes to resemble a marionette.
  • Perky Goth:
    • Draculaura dresses in lots of goth-y attire—like black fishnets and boots with lots of bat and fang themed accessories. She also loves the color pink, is cheerful almost to the point of being a Genki Girl, and enjoys writing stories about her friends.
    • River Styxx, daughter of the Grim Reaper, is a party-loving and pastel-wearing young teen who likes to take dad's yacht on joyrides.
    • Luna Mothews, a self-proclaimed "goth-moth", who's pretty colorful and flashy and aspires to be a theater star.
  • Phrase Catcher: "Ghoulia's right!" Pretty much every one of the main characters has said this at least once.
  • Pink Heroine: Generation one averts this by giving the lead to Frankie, but generation two (starting with the new wave of dolls and Welcome to Monster High) and the anime, Monster High Scary Girls, make Draculaura the protagonist instead specifically due to pink appeal.
  • Playing Cyrano: Draculaura, Frankie and Clawdeen to Ghoulia in one of the webisodes. The title is even "Cyrano De Ghoulia".
  • Pointy Ears: It's a school of monsters, so this is present in so many spades you'll need a hardware store.
  • The Power of Friendship: When Nefera gets ready to cheat against Cleo and the Fear Squad, Deuce motivates Cleo up to get back into the competition in "Monster Mashionals Part 2". He also mobilizes the other ghouls (who'd pledged to back the Fear Squad) to foil Nefera. Toralei and her own catgirls even help, disgusted that Nefera had that little faith in them to win this fairly.
  • Product Placement:
    • The Lisi Harrison series was rife with them.
    • One of the 2016 SDCC exclusives is a Ghostbuster Frankie, to promote the film coming out the same year.
  • Precision F-Strike: By this series' standards, anyway. Draculaura gets frustrated at her lack of reflection and says "Sometimes, being a vampire really sucks!"
  • Preemptive "Shut Up": In the webisode "Substitute Creature" Mr. Lou Zarr commands a two-headed student to stop talking even though neither of the student's heads has a mouth.
  • Pretty Butterflies: Bonita Femur, Luna Mothews, and the deluxe Inner Monster invoke this with their wings.
  • Punny Name / Theme Naming: Are you seeing a pattern here?
  • Rapunzel Hair: Clawdeen's hair is constantly growing (everywhere) and besides having to pluck stray hair several times a day she doesn't mind it, as it leads her to be more experimental with it. While she shaves her limbs in G1, the reboot gives her fur on her wrists and ankles.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Headless Headmistress Bloodgood. Stern and in control, yet good-natured and always willing to support her students.
  • Remember the New Guy: Each new character's first doll gets a diary delivering information about themselves, and they subsequently make multiple appearances in the animated material. This is averted with Gilda Goldstag, however, as her only release is in a five-pack, she doesn't get a diary, and has only made background appearances in the webisodes even after being made into a doll.
  • Retraux:
    • Done with several outfits for several characters, and Ghoulia, Operettanote , Scarahnote , and Viperinenote  follow this trend consistently in their fashion.
    • This is also the design theme of the Ghoulebrities in Londoom pack. Elissabat's outfit is fifties, Catty's mod sixties, and Viperine is seventies.
  • The Rival:
    • It's initially made a big deal of that Clawdeen does not like Cleo De Nile & by extension, Deuce. At first when revealed in Ghoulia's diary that Cleo used to date Clawd, Clawdeen's brother. They broke up and Cleo started dating Deuce the next day. Seems reasonable at first, but Clawd's diary revealed that their break-up was actually mutual and was a long time coming. Cleo decided to be the one to seem harsh and Clawd, regrettably, let her take the fall. They got over it.
    • Amanita Nightshade and Cleo do not like each other, since Amanita's narcissistic mentality led her to abandon the de Niles after breaking out of the tomb.
    • Moanica D'Kay is advertised as such to Draculaura in Welcome to Monster High, with a two-pack release dubbed "Monstrous Rivals".
  • Robot Girl: Robecca Steam is the old-timey variety and Elle Eedee represents the futuristic type.
  • Royal Brat: Cleo de Nile, and Nefera to an even worse extent.
  • Running Gag: Background characters getting pulled away by giant tentacles, especially a certain green nerd boy.
  • Salem Is Witch Country: Referenced, since the characters live in New Salem.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: In "New Ghoul @ School" Draculaura literally says "Siiigh..." while swooning over Justin Biter.
  • Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: Lagoona faces her childhood bully in Great Scarrier Reef.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Ms. Revenant, also known as the Red Lady, in Haunted.
  • Seductive Mummy: Cleo and Nefera are both mummies who have the appearance of attractive girls.
  • Schrödinger's Cat: Alluded to in the end of "Desperate Hours", where Toralei and her fellow cat-girls are herded to a math camp in a bus. The stink balloon they wanted to loose on the seniors (and blame the main ghouls for) bounces toward them...and explodes, releasing the stench into the bus holding the cat-girls. They're not dead, but their yowling hints they are wishing this wasn't happening to them...
    • Taken literally with Invisi Billy's pet, which is a box that may or may not contain a cat.
  • Sense Freak: Pretty much everything is new to Frankie, and she wants to experience all of it.
  • The Shadow Knows: Look carefully at an illustration on Jackson's Gloom Beach box. You can see Holt Hyde's Flaming Hair.
    • In 13 Wishes, this is how shadow-sensitive Twyla starts realizing something isn't right: Howleen's 'friends' have no shadows.
  • Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now?: The ghouls regularly go on voyages away from school—sometimes explained by asking for permission or the school being in jeopardy—but for a series called Monster High, the titular place sometimes disappears for the majority of a movie.
  • The Show Goes Hollywood: Frights, Camera, Action! is about this.
  • Sigil Spam: Monster High's trademark skullette. It's this to the dolls' outfits, and in locations: even in places not tangentially related to the school it'll pop up.
    • To a lesser extent, coffins. Anything they can make coffin-shaped, they will, ranging from swimming pools to lockers to cameras and makeup kits. Also, the dolls' boxes have always had coffin-shaped windows or backgrounds.
  • Sirens Are Mermaids:
    • The Siren Create-a-Monster add-on pack. This is partially justfied, as an avian siren would be hard to distinguish from the Harpy pack.
    • Sirena von Boo subverts this. Her name is derived from the Italian word for mermaid, and she's only ever referred to as a ghostly mermaid.
  • Skunk Stripe: Frankie's hair is nothing but a mass of these. Several other dolls feature these, like the Fearfully Feisty and Fangtastic Love Inner Monster.
  • Slobs vs. Snobs: The vampire/werewolf enmity in Fright On!: the lycans bug the vamps for being prissy, and the vamps bug the lycans for being sloppy.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: Ghoulia and Kjersti, one a general genius, and the other, a technological and video-game wiz. Jackson is a more minor example.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: An offscreen example, but in this universe, Medusa, her sisters, the Hydra, and the Minotaur weren't slain by heroes; they're parents.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Toralei (not Torelei; it comes from "tora" for "tiger"), Nefera (not Nefara; it comes from "Nefertiti", not "nefarious"), and Slo Mo (not Slow-Moe, as his name is Sloman Mortavich).
  • Stock Footage: Some of the webtoons reuse background footage of students walking by.
  • Stealth Pun: A World of Pun needs no excuse to be punny. Example: Lagoona has an Australian accent because she comes from the land down under. Underwater, that is.
  • Story Arc: A few of the webisodes come in these.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Heath started out as this for Holt, until both characters ended up in all continuities (neither replacing the other) and Heath underwent Cast Speciation to become more of a Butt Monkey.
  • Symbol Motif Clothing: Pretty much everybody has their own variation of it. To apply it to a whole line, nearly every Boo York, Boo York doll has crystalline comet-shard accessories and even shimmery skin and crystalline doll stands to tie in to the arrival of Astranova's comet.
  • The Stinger: At the end of Boo York, Astranova is seen communicating with Apple White and Raven Queen hinting the possibility of a crossover between Monster High and Ever After. Due to the reboot, don't expect this to come to fruition.
  • Taken for Granite: Deuce’s stare can only turn people into stone for about a day, then it wears off.
    • In "Hiss-Teria", Deuce's first pet was Smokey, a dragon. Sadly, he was the first thing a younger Deuce turned to stone accidentally (Smokey knocked off Deuce's glasses) where the stare hadn't worn off in a day. The only thing Deuce knows is that Smokey is to return to normal on the anniversary of when it happened, but doesn't know which one. This becomes a Tear Jerker for Frankie, Draculaura and Clawdeen (and maybe the closest thing the websodes came to having someone die).
  • Time Abyss: Draculaura's father. Draculaura says he is far, far older than he appears, and that he was already an ancient vampire "when togas were first becoming fashionable." A more recent diary confirms, according to translations of journals she wrote centuries ago, says that he served in the army of Julius Caesar.
  • Toilet Humor: In the book, although it's not as bad as other examples.
  • Token Human:
    • Jackson Jekyll, the only regular character who is a "normie".
    • Subverted by the "Inner Monster" dolls. While they initially seem to be normal, if oddly pigmented, human girl dolls, they have exposed brains under their wigs, translucent bodies containing skeletons with detachable innards, all sorts of purely inhuman and unsettling eyes, and monstrous back accessories ranging from wings to tentacles.
  • Training from Hell: Abbey imposes this on the entire school in 13 Wishes when, having been made Student Disembodied President, she becomes acting principal when Headmistress Bloodgood has to go on a trip. Abbey takes her responsibilities very seriously and orders the whole school to operate the way that best suits her, cutting lunch hour to 25 minutes "for more study time" and having the cafeteria serve unidentifiable trays-ful of weird meat because she thinks it's healthier.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Clawdeen misses five days of school in Draculaura's second diary due to having to shave her head bald after a hairstyling accident and the ensuing depression that followed. Draculaura suggests she and Frankie shave their heads too in solidarity, until Frankie reminds her that Clawdeen's hair grows back in a matter of days, while it would take years for Draculaura and Frankie to get theirs back to their current length.
  • Two Beings, One Body: One of the main elements of Freaky Fusion. The ghouls go back in time 200 years to when Monster High was first built, but when they return to the present everyone except Frankie and Ghoulia have merged with someone else: Draculaura with Robecca, Lagoona with Jinafire, Clawdeen with Venus and Cleo with Toralei. They enlist the help of the new hybrid students to help them coordinate and cooperate.
  • Uncatty Resemblance: Pretty much every pet looks like their owner in color scheme.
With the rereleases, Cleo still has her old phone, which feels strange among the iCoffins.
  • Universal Horror: The main 6 ghouls are (spiritual) descendants of Universal's horror titans and since the CG specials are produced by Universal, we count.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Alluded to with Draculaura, who has acquired more than a few dresses and shoes over the past 1600 years she's been immortal. It's also alluded to that most of Clawdeen's clothes come from her (such as her Dawn of the Dance dress, as seen in "Fashion Emergency") and that her tastes have ranged over time from girly to punk to even chainmail.
    • Limited Wardrobe: On the other hand, they always seem to go to school in the same clothes. Even when the second half of Season 2 started up and you'd think that they'd want to advertise the School's Out line. The webisodes occasionally change the outfits, but it's the signature look for each character 90 percent of the time.
  • Undeathly Pallor: Naturally, the vampires have this, but in this universe, vampires are all some shade of pale pink!
  • Unmoving Plaid: Both generations of the webisodes (animated in Flash) have this trope by the truckload.
  • Unusual Ears: To the point where the instances of normal ears are unusual. In addition to the many different shapes, placement of ears also varies, and Skelita, River, Gil, and Finnegan avert this entirely- they have no ears.
  • Vacation Episode: Gloom Beach, Skull Shores, Scaris, Love in Scaris, Ghoulebrities in Londoom, Ghouls' Getaway, and Shriek Wrecked. Monster Exchange Lagoona and Draculaura also count, since they're traveling to Madread and Shibooya, respectively.
  • Vampire Vords: Draculaura can pronounce her Ws, at least, but she otherwise has a noticeable (and very cute) unspecifiable Eastern European accent. Also, Lord Stoker.
  • Vegan Vampire: Draculaura is one of the few genuine articles. She doesn't drink blood at all to the point she even faints at the mention of it, subsisting on fresh fruits and veggies and lots of iron supplements. Although in Boo York, Boo York, she lamented the Gala's dearth of crab rolls. Must've been a cheat day. This is averted by Elissabat, whose stance on blood is unclear, but she has no inhibitions about including blood themes in her outfits.
  • Very Special Episode: Aligned with the Kind Campaign.
    • The first, "Kind Campaign: The Shockumentary", focuses on how negative actions spread and how to stop them.
    • A second one working with WeStopHate.org deals with raising self-esteem in teenagers to keep them from putting others down.
  • Wax On, Wax Off / Chekhov's Skill: What Cleo realizes Scary Murphy was doing with the Fear Squad by putting them through harsher conditions than the other squads, including chores. Cleo gets the Fear Squad to follow her lead after their routine got sold out to Smogsnorts by Toralei. This allows for Cleo to make a new routine using the moves from their chores that beats Smogsnorts. This impresses Scary Murphy, and it wins the Fear Squad the Spirit Staff.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Clawdeen did not care for her friends and any of her family associating with each other romantically, so in Volume 2 she went to split up Draculaura and her brother Clawd by proving to them that they aren't right for each other. How does she do this? By dropping a giant steak in front of Draculaura to intentionally make her faint in front of carnivore Clawd, who hadn't known she was vegetarian, just to make a point to him. Quickly gathering that Clawdeen knew about her friend's intense aversion to meat, he immediately calls her out for it. Afterwards, Clawdeen apologizes for her actions and attitude the past several days, and this marked the start of her learning to live with her brother and friend as a couple. She's now cool with it.
  • World of Pun: Only in this doll franchise will you see cities like Monster Picchu, Boo York, and Barcelgroana. Or countries like Costa Shrieka, Fangladesh, and the Doominican Republic. And yet, Earth is still called Earth.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Substitute "creature" Lou Zarr's parents had to have seen that coming. Also, Hoodude.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Unnatural hair is the rule, not the exception, at MH.
  • Younger Than They Look: Frankie, while possessing the knowledge and manner of a 15-year-old girl, is at most only a couple years old. Hoodude is even younger, considering she made him.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer: A majority of the problems that the ghouls have seem to be solved with the idea of throwing a party.
  • Wilhelm Scream: Used by a background student who slips into the swimming pool in the webisode "Frost Friends".
  • With Us or Against Us: In "Fright On", the factions of vampire and werewolf that briefly form in the school follow this policy.
  • Youkai: Kiyomi Haunterly, a Noppera-bō, is one.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Clawdeen's base outfit at grade B.
    • Draculaura's outfit in the Day at the Maul set definitely qualifies.
    • Kiyomi and Rochelle at grade E, in their base outfits.
    • Clawdia's red knee socks in her base outfit clock in at grade C.
    • Gory's black thigh-highs are a grade F.

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