How Much Do Child Beauty Pageants Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 7, 2018

A child beauty pageant is open to all contestants who are under the age of 18 years old, and during these pageants, a panelist of judges will conduct interviews and watch a talent performance that includes sportswear, casual, swim, and more.  There may also be themed pageants that include outfits such as western wear or another related theme.  The cost of a pageant is going to depend on the association holding it, the location, the clothes being worn, makeup and more.

2nd Annual ”More than a Beauty Pageant” by UrbanPromise Camden, NJ, on Flickr
2nd Annual ”More than a Beauty Pageant”” (CC BY 2.0) by UrbanPromise Camden, NJ

How much do child beauty pageants cost?

Beauty pageants can work in many various ways.  For example, some pageants may ask the parents to sell “sponsor tickets,” these tickets will be anywhere from $1 to $20.  With these tickets, someone will be able to get into the show, and upon entering, the ticket can be entered into a raffle.

On average, plan on spending $20 to $750 for the entry fee alone.  The more prestigious and higher level the pageant is, the more you’re likely going to pay.

For example, the Dream Girls USA Pageant has a $175 booking fee for those who are part of the Alumni.  The Baby Miss America Pageant, on the other hand, has no entry fees.

Overall, a beauty pageant can cost anywhere from $800 to as much as $4,500 once you factor in the gown, other outfits, makeup, coaching, entry fees and travel fees.

According to this Today.com article, the woman being interviewed said she spends $400 on the entry fees and another $4,000 for the glitzy dress.  She also spent $50 for a professional coaching session and $300 to $500 for the costume.

Bankrate says the average entry fee is $25 to more than $500.  In the same article, researchers at Harvard had interviewed families and had found the average family paid $100 to $200 per pageant and entered an average of five per year.

Child beauty pageant overview

Each beauty pageant is going be widely different than the next.  Most pageants will include a few different sessions that may require talent, interviews, and themed clothing sessions where your child will showcase particular outfits.  Every pageant will have strict rules and will be listed on a pamphlet of some sort or on the website.  Failing to abide by these rules can lead to an instant disqualification or a deduction in points.

Most pageants will be opened to those from four months old to as old as 15 years.

Some pageants may reward all contestants, regardless of the outcome, while some may have contests within the contests such as the “most photogenic.”  This may include a certificate, medal, or some sort of memorabilia; however, usually, the top three winners will receive a cash prize that can be anywhere from $50 to as much as $10,000.  The child pageants usually have lower payouts than the adult pageants.

What are the extra costs?

Traveling expenses can get rather pricey when it comes to pageants.  Since most pageants are going to be outside of your area, lodging and other travel-related expenses, such as gas and food, need to be considered.

Pageant outfits, such as dresses and swimwear, can cost anywhere from $150 to as much as $5,000 depending on what is purchased and your preferences.  Like any purchase that is made related to clothing, the final price will come down to the brand, style and designer.

On top of the clothing, additional expenses to consider are the makeup and hairstyling if using a professional.  Tanning, wigs and artificial teeth, known as flippers, are also purchased as well.

Coaching sessions, if you choose to use a professional, can cost about $40 to $80 per hour session.

Tips to know

Before entering any pageant, you want to know about a few things.  First, who are the directors?  Is it operated by a for-profit organization?  Next, where will the pageant be held and what kind of history does it have?  You will always want to make sure you can verify this location to avoid scams.  What kind of winnings are available?  If it sounds too good to be true, then it may be.  Always read the contract closely before entering to make sure you understand the responsibilities of the winner.

There is no regulating agency for pageants, and common scammers will constantly change names to avoid being detected.  This is why it’s so important to research the reputable pageants that have been around for quite some time if you’re serious about having your child join one.

How can I save money?

Most pageants will have a website that gives you all the information that you want to know about it.  If a first place prize is what you want in the end, be sure to do the math to ensure that the pageant will be worth it.  It is silly to go after a $100 prize when you spend over $10,000 to get there.


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Average Reported Cost: $5000

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Less Expensive $1 $1.5K $3K $5K $6.5K More Expensive $8k

How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

  1. su paid $5000 and said:

    i spend 5,000 dollars just getting in to the pageant i spend about 1 million dollars for all the glitz stuff i also spend about a thousand dollars for a professional trainer

    Was it worth it? Yes

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