Fast-forward nine years. In that time frame I've seen six Day of the Dead-themed dolls. Five were Living Dead Dolls (series 20 had a Day of the Dead theme), and the sixth is Skelita Calaveras, a Monster High doll.
"Scaris, City of Frights" line, based on a Monster High television show of the same name. The line introduced three new characters: Catrine DeMew (a French werecat), Jinafire Long (a Chinese dragon), and Skelita Calaveras (a Mexican skeleton). As a side note, I'm a biology buff just like Miss Emily is (hooray for bio buddies!!!), so I'll probably be making comments about the accuracy of Skelita's bones as we go along. Just wanted to warn you, LOL! But first things first. Let's start from the top with Skelita's hair.
In terms of quality Skelita's hair is meh. It feels thick and covers the head, and the rooting is decent. However, the fibers feel coarse. They like to bunch together in bundles, which makes me wonder if Skelita doesn't have a ton of glue inside her head, like a lot of Mattel's current dolls. The hair is also difficult to brush. Every time I brush Skelita's hair, either with my fingers or the brush she came with, it snags. These snags are hard to pull apart and often develop into huge knots. I have been able to pull apart most of these knots, but I can just imagine how Skelita's hair will look after she's been in a child's possession for any length of time.
Okay, so the hair falls short. Skelita's face, on the other hand, is impressive. Look at this paint job!
Skull Shores Frankie Stein
Gloom Beach Cleo De Nile
Glasgow smile, but in truth it is faithful to the makeup that the living wear during Day of the Dead (notice that the woman in that link also has lip paint like Skelita's). This line of paint is supposed to simulate the skull's bared teeth, and it does a pretty good job. It still looks odd though, to see such full lips on a doll that is supposed to be a skeleton. Maybe Skelita has been partaking of the candy on her shrine. Maybe she's gotten a hold of some wax lips and is now wearing them! LOL
Most of the rest of Skelita's head is decidedly skeletal. Yes, I've got more to discuss with the head, believe it or not! Skelita has some well-defined bone structure. Yeah, I know she's a skeleton, but molded vinyl doesn't always have such definition. Skelita does, though. She has a prominent jawbone and some equally prominent cheekbones:
Okay, so far Skelita sticks to the Day of the Dead theme pretty well. But let's take a gander at these clothes. Another item common to Day of the Dead celebrations is the Calavera Catrina figure. La Catrina was created in 1910 and is thus often depicted as wearing a long, old-fashioned style of dress and a huge hat, like this:
The skirt doesn't have little skulls on it like the dress does, but I love the colors on it.
this very same doll (once again, she beat me to the punch), and during that review it is revealed that the skirt is based on Mexican party flags that are used during celebrations like Day of the Dead (and probably other celebrations as well). Here's an example of what these can look like:
See the resemblance?
EDIT!!! A Mexican reader has informed me that these are NOT "party flags" at all, but rather decorations used to honor the deceased. Her full description can be found in the comments section. Kudos to Lily Handmade Designs for pointing this out.
That same creativity slacks off a bit in terms of accessories. Skelita has a few pieces of jewelry, a pair of shoes, a stand, a suitcase, and a booklet. Her necklace is made out of pumpkin orange plastic.
Skelita's other piece of jewelry is this bracelet.
Skelita's shoes are a tad humdrum compared to the shoes of other Monster High dolls, but they tie in with the outfit.
Like all the other dolls in the Scaris line, Skelita comes with a rolling suitcase. Here is what it looks like.
I've GOT to get some better camera equipment!!!
Pink. Arguably the most overused color in the doll world. It would've been nice to see this rendered in yellow or blue, so it would tie in better with Skelita's overall look. But then again, she DOES have a lot of pink patches on her skirt, so I guess I shouldn't complain about the color. Besides, the suitcase is covered in little details that help me overlook the color somewhat. The handle is shaped like a spinal column, and it has some sort of medical insignia at the top. I can't remember what that's called for the life of me, but you've probably seen it on the walls of medical buildings.
Skelita's booklet is not the journal common to most first-wave Monster High dolls. It's part journal, part sketchbook.
The stand is the three-piece job common to most Monster High dolls. It's made of black plastic.
But wait just a minute...why on Earth would Skelita need something to help fill out her clothes???
The knees have little patellas (kneecaps). For some reason I've always been fond of patellas, so I love this touch.
Clawdeen Wolf did for the "Scarily Ever After" series)!
OR...maybe Skelita's ribs are like that because she has rickets!!! Look at her arm!
Skelita's arm joints are average. It takes some effort, but I can bend the arms into some halfway decent poses.
"PLEASE!!! No more topless pictures!"
I haven't tried to pull Skelita's arms apart, by the way. Monster High arms normally pop apart at the wrists and elbows, but I haven't tested this on Skelita, nor do I plan to. As bendy as her hands and arms are, I fear that once I pull her apart I won't be able to get her back together again. So that brings us to the big question: would I recommend Skelita to a child? To a collector? Let's see...
*Hair is not the best. Cute style, but the fibers feel yucky.
*Most of the accessories are humdrum. The booklet and the suitcase are nice, but the creativity falls flat on some of the jewelry and the shoes.
*Skelita's body is too skinny to fit in the stand. This is remedied with a plastic torso cover, but said remedy is temporary.
*Skelita's body feels fragile and doesn't pose as well as other Monster High bodies. Her knees don't bend easily, her neck is stiff, and her arms bend in places they shouldn't.
*Not really a bad thing, but give this doll a good once-over if you purchase her in a store. Her face paint is very detailed and thus could be flawed.
*This is just a personal gripe of mine, but I wish there were more marigolds!
*She's white, which means she could get dirty easily.
*The face is amazing. Skelita has elaborate, highly detailed face paint and equally detailed eyes. Such a face should be a minefield for paint flaws (keep your eyes peeled for these, like I mentioned above), but my doll has none.
*Skelita's mouth is painted into a smile, something I don't see too often in the Monster High world.
*She's original. I've NEVER seen a skeleton doll before.
*She sticks to the theme. Her outfit, her face paint, and her overall body all scream Day of the Dead.
*Highly detailed body that is for the most part accurate. All the bones are in the correct place. The hands have separately molded metacarpal bones, which I love.
*I love the colors. She's not dominantly black or dominantly pink.
*The outfit, while not what I would expect for a Day of the Dead doll, is highly creative. Using Mexican party banners for a skirt is a clever, original idea. Further, there are little skulls on Skelita's dress! Instead of playing it safe with polka dots or normal flower centers, the designers put skulls on there.
*There's a potential to learn here. Kids might browse through Skelita's sketchbook and start asking questions about Mexican/Spanish language, culture, and holidays. A child with sharper eyes might ask questions about the symbolism of the flags on the skirt, or the marigolds on the necklace, or the makeup scheme.
In answer to the question presented above, no and yes. I wouldn't recommend Skelita to a small child because her body feels fragile, her body could get dirty, and her hair is coarse. She also doesn't fit in her stand, which gets very frustrating. But I WOULD recommend her to an older child, to a collector, to anyone who likes Goth things or Latin culture (or both). Like C.A. Cupid, whom I reviewed last November, Skelita is covered in clever little details. Her body lacks Cupid's solid construction and elaborate paint job, but she makes up for it with an original body design and a stunning face. Her outfit sticks to the theme and utilizes normally mundane things like party decorations to make some highly creative pieces. If you don't have Skelita Calaveras and like her, then I highly recommend that you get her. She'll definitely flesh out your collection!
the second I've reviewed, but she's my ninth doll). She won't be my last; I'm currently searching for a decent Abbey Bominable, and the new Target exclusives are really adorable. But after this I intend to take it easy with the MH dolls. It isn't that I don't like any of the new releases; quite the contrary, in fact. I love so many of the dolls, and I've yet to see a Monster High doll that I absolutely hate. That's where the problem lies. I simply cannot afford to buy every doll that I love, nor can I find the space for them. Furthermore, Skelita is the perfect Monster High doll for me. She's pretty, she's unique, she's detailed, and she has a Day of the Dead theme. She's everything I ever wanted in an MH doll. Yeah, her hair could be better, and her joints could be looser, and the rest of her body (particularly her arms) could be...not so bendy, and her stand could fit better, but overall I'm pleased with this purchase. I'm pleased enough to call off the search for Monster High dolls (at least for now) and focus on filling in the other holes I have in my collection. There are some adorable new Bratz out for this fall, and Mimi Merize still eludes me, as does a decent B.F.C. Ink doll. Recently, something else has appeared on my radar...something I normally would have paid no attention to.
in a recent review, and that will probably determine whether I pursue a Mooshka doll for myself. If she gives them a thumbs up then I probably will seek one out. If she doesn't...well, I might still anyway, because our opinions may be different! My twenty-sixth birthday is right around the corner, and these dolls are already in the local stores; heck, I've even seen them in my town's rinky-dink little Wal-Mart! We usually NEVER get the new dolls, so seeing Mooshka here in town was certainly a treat. Maybe one day very soon you will be seeing one of these soft little minxes highlighted in a review.
Happy last day of September,