When night falls at a church cemetery, amidst howling dogs, hooting owls, and fighting cats, four skeletons rise from their graves for macabre merriment. Dancing and playing music by using each other as instruments, the skeletons party until the rising of the sun, where they frantically rush back into their graves, forming a skeletal chimera to get back faster.
Being the original and one of the most popular Silly Symphonies, the skeletons have been long associated with the macabre side of Disney. They reappeared later in the year in the Mickey Mouse short Haunted House and would go on to appear in House of Mouse and be given a visual nod in Disneyland Paris' Phantom Manor in the underground catacombs sequence. A level based on the short appears in Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two as well as the short itself being included as an extra feature.
- Disneyland, episode #2.11: "The Story of the Animated Drawing"
- Good Morning, Mickey, episode #79
- The Ink and Paint Club, episode #1.4: "Disney Firsts"
- The Ink and Paint Club, episode #1.55: "Oooh! Scary!"
- Walt Disney Cartoon Classics: Scary Tales (VHS/laserdisc)
- Walt Disney Treasures: Silly Symphonies (DVD)
- Walt Disney Treasures: The Adventures of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (DVD)
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Diamond Edition (Blu-Ray)
- The Skeleton Dance makes an appearance in Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two as one of the projector transition levels.
- Footage from this short was used in the Disney Sing Along Songs volume Happy Haunting: Party at Disneyland for the song "Spooky Scary Skeletons".
- Part of the animation appeared in the 2007 film Ghost Rider.
- In 1937, Ub Iwerks worked on the cartoon Skeleton Frolic for Columbia Pictures' Color Rhapsody series. it is essentially a color remake of The Skeleton Dance, and features many similar scenes, including:
- A church at night in a wind storm. When the bell rings, bats fly towards the camera.
- Skeletons throw their heads at an animal (a cat, instead of an owl)
- A skeleton playing the xylophone with another skeleton's ribcage
- Four skeletons dancing in a row
- The skeletons run back into their graves, as a crow cries out in the morning.