Mattel, the makers of the classic doll, unleashed the "Monsters High" line of toys in July 2010, and in just three years, the "goth Barbies" have become, well, a monster hit.
Monster High, featuring characters such as Frankie Stein, Draculaura and Clawdeen Wolf, is aimed at girls 6 to 12.
Mattel rode the brand -- the fastest growing in the industry -- to sales that surged by 56 percent just this year, even as Barbie's sales sag.
The toymaker says Monster High surprised everyone and became a billion-dollar brand, and after Barbie, the best-selling doll in the world.
"Honestly, it was very surprising to us," said Kiyomi Haverly, Mattel's design vice president. "We just noticed girls were into darker goth fashion."
Perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise: Television viewers and movie goers have been bombarded with the paranormal, as vampires, zombies and witches have become popular fare with the teen girl demographic.
(Think "Twilight," "Beautiful Creatures," and the upcoming "City of Bones.")
The success of Monster High, which includes a line of books and Web episodes, is causing the ghoulishly glamorous trend to spread through the toy aisle as surely as a zombie movie virus through a besieged human population.
Monster High girls will soon have plenty of company -- even Disney princesses. At Last Spring's annual Toy Fair in New York, the not quite House of Mouse-approved "Once Upon a Zombie" dolls, including undead versions of Snow White, Cinderella, and even Peter Pan, were on display.
"The message about [Monster High] is really to celebrate your own freaky flaws, especially as bullying has become such a hot topic," said Cathy Cline, chief of girls' brands marketing for Mattel.
And Haverly said she suspects Monster High is winning the ultimate popularity contest because girls can identify with the characters' individual quirks.
Draculaura is a vegan vampire, Ghoulia Yelps is the smartest in the school but can only speak in zombie groans, and Frankie Stein is a klutz.
"Girls could really relate to that because that's part of what they're thinking of these days," she said.
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